The event, sponsored by Research Councils UK, and organised by the Department's outreach officer Dr Joy Warde, was a hands-on activity day in which family teams were invited to design, build and test a hovercraft. The activity was aimed at children aged 6-13 to show them the fun, creativity and relevance of engineering. 1200 people, including the Vice Chancellor, attended the event resulting in the construction of 800 hovercraft. The families were assisted by over 60 engineering students and alumni.
The hovercraft were constructed from a battery powered motor mounted on a polystyrene tray. In order to succeed participants had to investigate the variables which affect the speed of travel. These included size and shape of the hovercraft body, design and postion of air intake, hovercraft weight and friction. Details of the kit used and instruction sheets can be found on the Department's Outreach website.
Participant feedback after the event was glowing:
"It’s a great day for our children! Many thanks for all the material provided free of charge."
"The event was great. The students were very enthusiastic. Thank you."
"It was fun and educational, well done."
"This was just so brilliant, all the children enjoyed it (so did my husband and I!!)."
"These events are always interesting/challenging, well organised and staffed. Good job."
"The children really enjoyed this and it is a great way to learn."
"It was awesome! Please do it again next year! We had so much fun."