The Missing Link: Co-Creation Through Design Engineering Projects
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Nigel Garland, Zulfiqar Khan
Institution: Sustainable Design Research Centre, Bournemouth University, UK
The Design Project units are the cornerstone of academic and professional development within the undergraduate Design Engineering programme at Bournemouth University. They provide technical, conceptual and theoretical challenges to be resolved through the integration of taught elements and self-directed learning to yield tangible outcomes. Final year students supplement their project through the Advanced Technology and Innovation unit. Here they work in conjunction with the research centres to develop understanding of a specialised discipline and write a research paper. However, students have limited time to develop before formulating a methodology while access to research facilities is limited and the learning curve for research equipment can be time consuming.
To address these issues, 2nd year students were asked to design a fatigue testing machine for use within the Sustainable Design Research Centre as a design project. Designing such a device provided students with a sound understanding of fracture mechanics at the beginning of the project, operation capability of test equipment, test methodologies and systems control; essentially they developed the prerequisite knowledge to engage in their 4th year research. Funding was secured from the University’s fusion investment fund (co-creation strand) to provide flexible adaptable elements and construct a pair of exemplar fatigue testing machines reflecting those developed by the students. The familiarity through the inbuilt adaptability of mechanism, control and data acquisition systems allows for a rapid understanding of their operation and capability hence short learning curve with equipment prioritised for undergraduate research.