Budding Rugby High scientists reach competition finals - The Rugby Observer

Budding Rugby High scientists reach competition finals

Rugby Editorial 8th Nov, 2019   0

EXCITING science projects devised by pupils at Rugby High School (RHS) have earned them a place at the national finals of a science and engineering competition.

Two RHS teams have qualified for The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition finals – meaning the school has been represented at every final since the competition began 12 years ago, with over 20 teams making it through during that time.

Their projects – to come up with sustainable alternatives to plastic bags, and to increase the efficiency of turbine blades – caught the eyes of judges at a regional final.

Year 9 pupils Anna Farrow, Maia Tiffen and Elise Scotney’s project Plastic Bags – Strong, Sustainable and Biodegradable explores various types of materials that could replace standard shopping bags.




They say they were concerned about the environmental impact of plastic bags and were interested to see if biodegradable bags had the strength of more conventional plastics.

They added: “We looked at the properties of plastic bags by measuring their stretch and overall strength when different forces were applied. We are now comparing biodegradable and compostable bags with more conventional plastics.


“We hope to promote biodegradable bags as good substitutes for more conventional examples.

“We were thrilled and excited, as we got through to the final by being awarded the prize for enthusiasm. We are really looking forward to it.”

For their project Measurement of Fillet Radii, Year 12 students Caitlin Hanna, Samantha Katanda, Rachel Coates and Maryam Fatima investigated a method to make a machine that would fine tune certain measurements of steam turbine blades to make them more efficient.

They were posed the problem by engineers at GE in Rugby.

They said: “Our results showed GE a promising, accurate and low-cost measuring technique on a small scale which could be applied to a number of engineering manufacturing scenarios.

“We were really surprised to win the regional heat given the high quality of the competition and how abstract our project was. The concept was quite difficult to explain, but we were praised for our clarity of explanation and presentation.”

RHS head of physics Susan Mighall said pupils had once again showed their talents for science and engineering.

She said: “As a school we are so lucky to have skilled and enthusiastic staff who are willing help the students in clubs carry out projects to consistently high standards.

“We are also lucky to have such great contacts at GE who stretch and challenge our sixth form physicists with engineering projects which, over the years, have been so valuable in helping them acquire places on superb engineering university courses and apprenticeships.”

Dr Hilary Leevers, chief executive of EngineeringUK, said: “The teams from Rugby High School really impressed the judges with their projects and we’re excited to see how they do at the UK finals.

“It is a huge achievement to progress to this stage of the competition and they should be incredibly proud.”

The two teams will compete in the finals at The Big Bang Fair at Birmingham’s NEC next March.

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