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Preparing for Take Off—SAE Manipal’s Jet Engine Workshop

The SAE Manipal Collegiate Club held a technical workshop on 15th and 16th March which aimed at tackling the complicated world of jet engines. They chose to split the workshop into two segmentsa theoretical analysis on day one, followed by a practical demonstration of the concepts learnt on day two. The workshops were conducted by senior students of the club. They focused on building a technical understanding of the various types of jet engines and the distinct differences between them. While the event was free of cost for SAE members, non-members were required to pay a fee to attend. Certificates were awarded to those who completed both days of the workshop.

Day One began with the presenters reiterating a few prerequisite concepts from 11th and 12th grade to aid in the understanding of the basic working of lift and drag. Once these concepts were made clear, rudimentary aeronautical structures like the aerofoil were discussed in an attempt to explain their lift generating abilities with relatively minimal drag. This was further expanded to cover the various types of wing concepts, both hypothetical and ones used in everyday life. Once this aspect of an aircraft was explained satisfactorily, the second presenter finally began to address the main topic at handjet engines.

Building on the fundamentals learnt in the BME classes, they began to dissect the cross-section of a jet engine part by part and explained the roles various components play in the functioning of the jet engine. A similar pattern was utilised to explain wing structures, following which, they went on to explore the various types of engines and the relative advantages they offer in the field. Once the theory and formulae heavy topics were dealt with, wind tunnel technology, a fundamental tool essential to the development of both engines and aeroplanes, was brought up. The way this tool is utilised to further refine the aerodynamic characteristics of structures was explained to a great extent. The various parts involved and the materials used in the construction of a wind tunnel were some of the topics addressed.

The cross-section of a turbofan jet engine. (Image Credits: Michael J. Krasowski, www.researchgate.net)

Day Two of the workshop was held in the propulsion lab, housed in the MAHE automobile workshop complex. It was a practical workshop which dealt with a more hands-on learning experience of the concepts and aeronautical designs discussed the previous day. The second day saw a change in the format of the workshop, as the participants were split into two groups. At the propulsion lab, after briefly explaining the working of the equipment housed there, the presenters moved on to the wind tunnel, where a detailed step by step description of the process involved in running tests was given. A simulation of a uniform aerofoil at various tilt angles was demonstrated to give a visual representation of lift and drag. They finally ended the practical workshop by exhibiting a functioning water tunnel which is also used to run aerodynamic tests in various industries.

The overall reception from the students who attended the workshop was positive barring a few complaints mainly concerning the response to queries raised by the participants.“The workshop was good, but they asked us to google the answers to some of the questions that we asked. In certain places it seemed like they just mugged things off the net,” said Saivedh Ganga, a first-year student who attended the workshop. Another concern voiced was regarding a delay in the distribution of the certificates for the workshop. “No core committee member or any SAE-IM member was present at the time of the comments made by the participant Saivedh Ganga. Therefore we can neither confirm nor deny the facts stated by him. As far as certificates are concerned, we have never specified a date for the distribution of the certificates beforehand, as there are many variables involved in the process. We have always tried to be swift in providing certificates. A time period of 3-4 weeks is reasonable for the process considering the variables involved,” explained Shivam Aggarwal, the President of SAE-IM. 

Despite its few shortcomings, the workshop not only gave students a glimpse into the intriguing functioning of jet engines and wind tunnels but also benefitted them by providing practical experience.

Disclaimer: This article was edited to include a quote by the President of SAE-IM and to correct a line regarding permission for lab equipment.

Featured Image Credits: Shelley Gill [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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