Students at Glasgow Caledonian University who are designing and manufacturing the first artificial luge ramp in the UK are to enlist the help of school pupils.

The project, a result of a partnership between the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment, and the Royal Navy Luge Team, has been widened out to primary schools.

This has been made possible thanks to a grant from the Royal Society. Around 200 pupils in P6 and P7 from Todholm Primary, Brediland Primary, Cochrane Castle, St James’ Primary, Bargarran Primary and Langcraigs Primary will take part in the project.

The pupils will work together with GCU MEng students to provide ideas to enhance the design of the luge ramp, which will be used by the Royal Navy Luge Team and potentially the GB Olympic Luge Team.

Workshops in the area of materials properties, welding and 3D printing will be delivered by the MEng students and the pupils will conduct investigations into which angle of descent is best to give the fastest speed and longest distance over a set course. The pupils will also be asked to think about how the fitness of the athletes will affect their starting performance and will be asked to consider this when thinking about the design of the starting ramp.

GCU MEng students from the Mechanical Systems Engineering and Computational Aided Mechanical Engineering programmes have already met with GB luge athlete Luke Farrar and the Royal Navy Luge Team lead Lt Cdr Emma Miles to discuss the sport and product specification for the ramp. The project is expected to be completed by May 2022.

The team will be supervised by Dr Patricia Munoz-Escalona and co-supervised by Dr Andrew Cowell, assisted by Senior Technical Officer Derek Leitch.

Dr Munoz-Escalona said: “I am delighted to provide this opportunity to pupils at such a young age. It gives them a chance to be involved in a real-life engineering problem and the opportunity to provide solutions, considering the different aspects of design and materials selection. It’s also a chance to engage my MEng students with primary school pupils to inspire and encourage them to pursue a career in engineering in the future.”

Mr Rigmand said: “Once again, I am looking forward to working with Dr Munoz de Escalona and Glasgow Caledonian University on a collaborative STEM project funded by the Royal Society. Pupils and teachers across six schools in Renfrewshire are extremely excited for the opportunity to engage with experts in engineering from the Royal Navy and GCU, as we collectively aim to manufacture a luge ramp and make purposeful connections to STEM in society.”

Cdr CD Pinder RN said: “The Royal Navy STEM Engagement Team is delighted to be able to support such and exciting project that will benefit not only the RN Luge athletes but also so many young, talented children in the Renfrewshire area.  The team looks forward to meeting all of the young people involved and helping to enthuse them about STEM subjects.”

Lt Cdr Emma Miles RN said; “As both a Royal Navy Luge athlete and STEM Ambassador, I am very pleased to not only be able to present this project to GCU for the MEng students but also share the opportunity with so many young students through the Primary Schools partnership. I look forward to meeting all the P6 and P7 students to introduce them to the sport of Luge and how it relates to STEM in a real-world engineering problem.”

Professor Sir James Hough FRS, Chair of the Partnerships Grant Allocating Panel at the Royal Society said: “We are delighted to be funding this exciting project which will give these young pupils the chance to develop essential problem solving and investigation skills. The range of STEM partners supporting this project, from Glasgow Caledonian University and the Royal Navy will give these pupils an excellent insight into future career opportunities.”

The participating students are Christopher Jordan, Jakub Choluj, Kevin Scollon and Mark Hughes.