Eight Fourth Form girls travelled to the University of Nottingham’s Physics Department last week as part of the Heat Shield Challenge, which attracted over thirty school teams of Fourth Form and Fifth Form girls.
The day started with a presentation, followed by the main challenge: designing a heat shield for a space craft returning to Earth through the atmosphere. The shields had to protect a bolt glued onto a piece of wooden dowel from the heat of a blow torch, and could only be made using three 8 cm squares of metal: one of copper gauze, one of steel gauze and another sheet of aluminium.
After creating the shields, the various groups gathered in the lecture theatre to test the final products. Both of the designs by the St Peter’s teams were continuing to function after an hour of exposure to heat, whilst all of the other teams bar one had failed.
Pupils attended a lecture entitled ‘Heat Shield Challengeby Professor Penny Gowling, and the event culminated in the announcement of the competition results. One of the St Peter’s teams was awarded third, with the other taking first place and winning a prize of £25 vouchers for each of the winning team members.
Head of Science Mr David Morris said:
Both teams did tremendously well with very little indeed to separate them. I was very proud of their achievements and congratulate all of the girls.
The programme was sponsored by the Institute of Physics, the Ogden Trust and ScienceGrrl.