Supersonic half-term break in the Department of Engineering for London pupil

An A-Level student from Surrey spent his autumn half-term break at our University for a rewarding week of work experience in the Gas Dynamics Laboratory.

Keshava Yiengar, from the Wilsons boys school, Wallington, Surrey is currently studying Mathematics, Further Mathematics, and Physics for his A-levels, and wanted to gain a first-hand insight into how ideal gas theory relates to space propulsion and aerodynamics.

A chance meeting at the International Congress on Sound and Vibration over the summer gave him a chance to fulfil this ambition. Dr Aldo Rona from the Department of Engineering- a volunteer STEM Ambassador for the National STEM Learning Centre and Network working with the Leicestershire Education Business Company (LEBC), arranged a four-day work experience at the Gas Dynamics Laboratory over the autumn half-term.

For his work experience, Kesh joined third year BEng students Nathan Nyante and James Calver in testing a 1.5 inch model of a supersonic aerofoil in the Plint 1 supersonic wind tunnel.

Keshava said: “I am very interested in Physics and I am often on YouTube looking for videos on how space, time, gravity, and the laws of Physics work. However, being able to do experiments first hand gives you a completely different perspective. I am grateful to Dr Aldo Rona for allowing me to use the supersonic wind tunnel. I would never have imagined doing supersonic testing for my half-term. I have made my mind up to pursue a Physics degree this October and I hope I will be able to go beyond this, perhaps with a PhD.”

Dr Aldo Rona said that “it was a pleasure hosting Keshava at the Gas Dynamics Laboratory. He teamed up well with Nathan and James and, in spite of his younger age, he demonstrated good commitment to the project. It was good for the team to get a preliminary optical alignment for Nathan and James to improve over the semester. I am thrilled to know that Keshava has decided to continue on a STEM subject for his university degree and fully support his choice.

"I am glad the Department of Engineering had the flexibility to accommodate Keshava at the start of the autumn term, when we are very busy with the new teaching term. I would like to thank Mr Paul Williams, Thermofluids Experimental Officer, for lending his personal camera to take the Schlieren photographs, and Mr Dipak Raval, for his support with running the 40 barg high-pressure air system.”