A Level Physics students have taken part in an insightful lecture on sustainable engineering, and put their engineering knowledge to the test in a hands-on competitive bridge building exercise in a session led by Professor Marco Corradi from the University of Huddersfield.

Civil engineering considers the design, build and maintenance of the physical environment such as the roads, bridges, and buildings, as well as the services we use every day. It is one of the oldest forms of engineering and today, we still use much of the engineering put in place by our ancestors. Professor Marco Corradi, an expert in sustainable development, delivered a university level lecture on sustainable civil engineering, and its importance when dealing with historical buildings. In the UK alone, there are approximately 24 million buildings in the UK that require a programme of work to retrofit them to modern standards, and Professor Corradi discussed the challenges faced by Civil Engineers when working on such projects. Civil Engineers often must think critically to problem solve – such as designing modern adaptations for heritage buildings that could be removed in the future if needed.

Following the lecture, the group were tasked with a challenge to build a weight bearing bridge using just 50 paper straws and a roll of sticky tape. The brief detailed that the bridge must span a 25cm gap and be capable of holding weight. The winning team’s bridge supported an impressive 2.7kg weight – equivalent to approximately a four-pint bottle of milk!

Chris Smith, Faculty Lead – Enrich, Maths and Science, comments “In A Level Physics, students develop a wide range of skills – including problem solving. Many of our students aspire to progress to a career related to Engineering in which problem solving plays a key part. Today’s lecture explored the intricacies of designing solutions that protect our heritage buildings whilst ensuring the users of these spaces remain safe- and the considerations that are needed to make sure these solutions are sustainable. We really enjoyed our bridge building challenge and our students really had to challenge themselves to build a bridge with genuine structural integrity with very limited resources! Thank you to Professor Corradi for delivering such an engaging session”.

You can view a gallery of the session below.

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