Engineering Scholars' Forum with Professor Stuart Burgess

Professor Stuart Burgess, Professor of Engineering Design at the University of Bristol, delivered an informative presentation to Year 7-13 scholars about cutting-edge Engineering technology during the Scholars’ Forum last week.

The audience were enthralled as Professor Burgess gave fascinating details about two main projects. Firstly, Professor Burgess described his work for the European Space Agency’s ENVISAT earth observation satellite which is the largest civilian satellite in the world. Professor Burgess designed the solar array deployment mechanism including inventing a new type of gearbox - the double action worm gear set.

Professor Burgess then focused on his work with the British Olympic Cycling team as they prepared for the Rio Olympics in 2016. His team’s chain drive engineering was used on all of the Team GB 2016 track bikes. A pendulum system and a laser to measure its movement was devised to measure efficiency by monitoring how slowly the pendulum came to rest. Turning existing design rules on their head, Professor Burgess and his team’s research found that larger sprockets made for a more efficient chain drive. Two years were spent testing and designing, with impressive results.

Professor Burgess and his team’s ground-breaking engineering work was exhibited at the headquarters of the Royal Society in London near Buckingham Palace in July. Pupils asked insightful questions and learned a huge amount from this highly experienced and talented Engineer.