Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement
The ability to apply what I have learnt in the classroom to the outside world is an aspect of physics and maths that I particularly enjoy. An example of this was being able to calculate the coefficient of friction between a book and a table, by knowing the weight and measuring the angle at which it started to move.
Then, using maths, we could model the situation and work out what would happen if the book was heavier or if we changed the angle of the table. This means of practical applications of pure sciences is at the heart of my interests in pursuing a degree in engineering. Maths has long been a subject that I have enjoyed, particularly the logical approach to problems, applying various techniques to different situations. Further maths has allowed me to develop my ability to tackle problems logically as well as further improving my adeptness with numbers.
Alongside developing my interests in the subject through a better understanding of the processes involved, taking Physics has also given me the opportunity to better my skills in researching and analysing data. I have enjoyed the experimental aspects where I have been able to carry out and devise experiments that demonstrate or make use of the processes that we have been learning about.
My main interests in engineering lie with mechanical engineering, stemming from my enthusiasm for cars and an absolute passion for motorsport. This passion prompted me to take up go-karting as a hobby and provides me with an opportunity to understand the complexity involved in modern machines.
Even with something as simple as a go-kart, very slight changes, such as a few degrees of toe in or minimal changes to the gear ratios, can have very significant effects on lap times and the handling of the vehicle. Another appreciation that I have gained from Karting as well as reading motorsport literature, is that handling of the vehicle is as important as engine power and I believe this idea is relevant in many aspects of engineering where many factors have to be considered.
Another interesting aspect that is present throughout the field of engineering is the intense competition that demands radical thinking and new concepts from engineers in order to stay on top, whether it be to increase efficiency in industry or to make a car go faster!
A fantastic example of this was developed as a result of Professor Malcolm Smith from Cambridge University drawing parallels between suspension systems and electrical circuitry. On realising that suspension systems had no equivalent to a capacitor, he set about developing one. From this concept the ‘J-damper’ was created for Mclaren and it is now used throughout the F1 Grid. This true ‘outside of the box’ thinking fascinates me.
I am currently working on an Extended Project Qualification and I have chosen Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems to be the subject of my project. So far, I have enjoyed carrying out the project on my own and have carried out extensive research including being in contact with the head of design for regenerative system at Williams F1, to act as an expert on the subject.
Last Summer I spent several weeks carrying out work experience, wherein I developed various skills. I spent a few weeks in various departments at a BMW dealership, particularly enjoying my time in the workshop, where I worked with mechanics to diagnose and fix faults on customers’ vehicles.
There I developed team working skills as well as learning a great deal about the vehicles and their systems. I also took the opportunity to develop my communication skills by conversing with customers as they waited to be attended to.
Apart from karting, outside of college, I also practice Tae-Kwon-Do. After several years I have achieved 1st degree black belt and apart from being a way to keep fit, I really enjoy it, have met many people and have used the lessons in discipline to help me succeed in other areas.