Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Umbrella redesign launches engineering grad’s career

New University of Canterbury graduate, Yazmin Shipley, has landed a role with Air New Zealand after completing a final-year project which saw her modify the humble umbrella to a more aerodynamic design.

Yazmin last week graduated from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Mechanical Engineering.

She says a highlight of her degree was a final-year design project that enabled her to apply theory, skills and experience developed throughout her studies.

“My favourite project was my umbrella project,” Yazmin says.

“The project idea surfaced on a windy, rainy day when many students around campus were battling umbrellas in the wind. Observing umbrella designs, I identified an opportunity for drag reduction which posed the potential to improve user comfort and accessibility for people with reduced physical strength.

“The design involved modifying a conventional umbrella by streamlining the canopy and adding four vents to reduce the drag experienced in high winds while using the umbrella at various angles – and results showed the novel design resulted in up to 60% reduction in drag when the umbrella was angled at .”

Course coordinator, Professor Mark Jermy says Yazmin chose a unique topic for her project and did an excellent job.

“She thought about everything, including the angle that rain falls at on windy days. Her new design is far easier to hold in high winds. This is great mechanical engineering, using knowledge to solve real-world problems.”

Yazmin says her area of study has been fuelled by her strong interest in aerodynamics and long-term goal of contributing to the carbon-zero future of aviation.

“I chose to study engineering to fuel my curious nature and positively impact people’s everyday lives through my passion for analytical problem-solving,” she says.

“I chose to major in Mechanical Engineering as the skills and knowledge learnt in an Engineering degree are widely applicable to solving problems in a range of industries, but I am specifically interested in aerodynamics and fluid flow, and aviation and aerospace technology.”

A RNZAF internship helped her secure a place in the Engineering Graduate Programme at Air New Zealand in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, which involves multiple rotations in different business sectors, including aircraft maintenance, quality assurance, fleet management and business functions.

She describes the role as the first step towards her long-term career goal of helping create a sustainable future.

“My long-term career aspirations are to keep learning and continue to challenge myself,” Yazmin says.

“I hope to embody this by being involved in the carbon-zero future of aviation. I have a strong passion for the environment, and I am very interested in the de-carbonisation of aircraft flight with technologies such as hydrogen-powered and biofuel-powered flight.

“I will strive for a future where experiencing the world is possible with minimal impact to the environment,” she said.

Latest Articles