Speak out for Engineering

The Speak out for Engineering competition is organised annually by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ local volunteer groups. This year’s South Yorkshire organiser was Raman Maiti, a Research Associate in the Department.

Rasan ChandraThe competition was originally established in 1964 to challenge young engineers to prove they could “communicate effectively”, which is still an important area in developing engineers today.

The competition provides young engineers with an excellent opportunity to demonstrate and develop their verbal and visual presentation skills and competence in public speaking. Competitors must give an oral presentation on a subject relating to mechanical engineering, with 90% of the total marks being awarded for presentation skills and 10% for technical content.

Area heats were judged by a panel of professionals chosen by the local committee and a winner and runner-up from each heat was awarded a place in the Yorkshire Region Final in April. The Department of Mechanical Engineering had not one, but two finalists in this year’s competition. Rasan Chandra, a fourth year MEng and Diyana Tasron a PhD student were both put through to the final at the Yorkshire Regional Dinner on 15th April where the winners were announced.

Rasan was named the overall winner with his talk on abradables in jet engines. Rasan breaks it down: “An abradable is a material which is sprayed along the circumference of the inner casing of an aero engine. During a flight, the compressor and turbine blades tend to expand in diameter which could strike the casing and cause damage to the blades. The abradable acts as a sacrificial layer so that when the compressor or turbine blade strikes it, the blades do not wear out. Instead, this material wears out and it is much cheaper to replace compared to replacing blades. The material also acts as a seal which reduces air flow around the blades hence reducing engine fuel consumption. Using a scaled test rig, I’m investigating how this material actually wears out by taking images of the debris ejecting from the surface of the material as the blade strikes it.”
The competition is open to any Affiliate or Associate members of the IMechE, who have been professionally registered for less than 10 years. So Rasan and Diyana were not only up against other students, but people with years of industry experience as well, which makes this an even greater achievement.

Rasan says, “When I saw the email sent out by the Department on behalf of the South Yorkshire IMechE it drew my interest as it was a public speaking competition about anything engineering related so I saw this as an opportunity to talk about my final year project.

“When I was announced the winner, I was surprised and delighted at the same time. This has given me a boost of confidence to present my upcoming viva and I will use it to pursue public speaking at higher levels.”