Tideway: design and technology (key stage four)

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Tunnelworks is a series of teaching and learning resources linking mathematics and science to the Thames Tideway Tunnel project, a major new sewer that will help protect the River Thames from increasing pollution. In this collection of design and technology focused activities the Augmented Reality (AR) app is used to facilitate the learning process. This app can be downloaded to student smartphones and used to investigate the history and engineering behind the Thames Tideway Tunnel. The tunnel route and boring machine components can be examined in greater detail. This app is needed for all of the other resources including the accompanying student challenge worksheets.

  • The belt conveyor, automation and society. In this resource students explore the functioning of the belt conveyor in the tunnel boring machine used in the Thames Tideway project and calculate the belt length of the conveyor as well as considering the impacts upon society of the automation processes in our everyday lives. There is a research challenge task looking into the career profile of a mechanical engineer.   
  • The cutterhead and induction motor. In this resource students explore the main features and functions of the cutterhead and induction motor used in the tunnel. Using this information there is a task involving the calculation of speed and torque of the motor and a research activity based upon PPE (personal protective equipment).                                                                                                                                                                               
  • The erector arms, concrete and composite materials. In this resource students identify the use of composite materials used in the tunnel lining and research properties of seven different types. There follows a data analysis task about the impact on different transport types due to the tunnel build site locations.
  • Hydraulic rams: hydraulics and pressure. In this resource the students research the functions of the rams and work through a pressure calculation task applying Pascal's Principle to the tunnel boring machine system. An extension activity involves making a classroom display illustrating the different types of engineering used in the tunnel project. 
  • Screw conveyor and balancing pressure. In this resource the students identify the main functions of the conveyor and perform calculations to work out the earth pressure at the front of the boring machine used in the excavation chamber of the tunnel.

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