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Sheffield Girls' engineering teams visit Vulcan fuel tank

Year 8 and Year 10 pupils have started on an unique engineering project that pits their prospective design ideas for a new museum exhibition against other school teams across the region. Thinking about sustainability, accessibility, and protection of the artefact, the teams will have to think outside the box. 

Teams are designing a stand for the Vulcan fuel tank, which weighs 800kg, for the new dedicated museum for the plane. 

At a recent open day at CBE+, a multi-disciplinary sub-contractor with a factory in Chesterfield, our girls joined other participating schools in a competition briefing, an overview of the Vulcan’s history, and a tour of the factory floor.  They were also given a detailed explanation of the design brief from research and design expert Steve Wainwright, director at DN4 Innovation Management Ltd.

The Vulcan to the Sky Trust has partnered with The Work-Wise Foundation to launch a competition for students to design an exhibition stand for an original Vulcan Bomb Bay fuel tank that was once installed in XH558.

The winning design will be manufactured by CBE+ and displayed to the public at the new Vulcan Experience Hangar at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. VTST, the charity behind the iconic Avro Vulcan XH558 aircraft, is fundraising for the hangar – The Vulcan Experience – with plans to open next year. 

John Sharman, chair of VTST, said: "The exhibition stand for the fuel tank will have a prime location within The Vulcan Experience so it needs to be attractive and engaging for children and adults, and of course, structurally sound.

"One of the key goals of The Vulcan Experience is to engage and inspire the next generations of engineers. This challenge is a unique opportunity for students to learn from the past to design and create their own innovations for today."

The Work-Wise Foundation, an employer-led charity for STEM fields such as engineering and manufacturing, supports the development of young people within the Sheffield City Region.

John Barber, CEO of The Work-wise Foundation, said: “"We spent two days with some of the students involved and it was amazing to see their passion for the aircraft and sparks of ideas come to life for their competition entries. This project not only celebrates the history of the Vulcan XH558, but it also gives the students the opportunity to work on designing and building a project just like they would in the world of work."

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