I was challenged to think outside the box and apply my skills in unusual scenarios.
Tell us about your summer placement?
I completed a 10 weeks summer placement at UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). UKAEA is a government institution responsible for research and development of fusion energy. I joined the Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) department and worked on several projects within the ITER Robotics Testing Facility (IRTF) programme.
My main task on placement was to evaluate the design of a vacuum circuit. Using my knowledge of fluid mechanics, I carried out calculations to determine areas with highest pressure drops and established the suction force that the circuit can provide. As a result of my work, the vacuum nozzle design was updated to enhance the performance.
How did your study help you to do your work?
I was also asked to write up my analysis for a design report so that the customer, ITER, can have an insight into the reasoning behind the model upgrade. I was confident working on this project as I had solved similar problems while in my second year. It felt very rewarding to see how my theoretical background gained through my course can
make a major difference in real industrial issues.
The placement wasn't limited to theoretical analyses. I was tasked with assembly of a 3-D printed trial model of a pipe closure plate. 3-D printed parts require post processing work to ensure the correct fit type of parts as well as add features, such as threaded holes, which is something that I had learnt in my design projects in my course. I visited the mechanical workshop every day to file, tap, drill, and hammer things into place to make sure the plate would meet the requirements. Once completed, the model was tested in a mock-up environment.
I am extremely grateful that the University had provided me with hands-on experience that became useful in my summer placement.
What did you gain from your placement?
My experience at UKAEA was truly rewarding. I was challenged to think outside the box and apply my skills in unusual scenarios. I had the opportunity to learn from senior engineers and be inspired by their commitment and creativity. Thanks to my hard work, I was invited back to join the Graduate Scheme at UKAEA. I am confident that with all of my knowledge and experience from placement and my course I will excel in my future workplace.
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