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Extreme Sports Engineering, BEng

University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the United Kingdom

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

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About Extreme Sports Engineering, BEng - at University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Course Overview

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Advances in equipment, materials and manufacturing techniques mean that sports that were seen as dangerous or 'extreme' until relatively recently are now becoming more main stream. This industry has significant opportunities for graduates with in depth knowledge of the science and manufacturing behind these sports.

Traditional engineering topics such as materials, manufacturing, stress analysis and fluid flow are brought into the 21st century and applied to this exciting new industry. The main target group for this course would be full time students completing level 3 qualifications who are interested in this industry.

UWTSD provides a unique BEng degree programme in the UK specialising in the Engineering, Development and Optimisation of equipment for the Extreme Sports Industry. Advances in equipment, materials and manufacturing techniques mean that sports that were seen as dangerous or 'extreme' until relatively recently are now becoming more main stream.

This has resulted in huge increases in the number of people that participate in surfing, kitesurfing, skating and snowboarding for example. In the U.S., in excess of 22 million people participate in 'extreme' sports and 'action sports' now generate one-third of sporting goods sales amounting to more than $14 billion. The growth of this industry has been so dramatic that sport participants in the U.S. have increased by about 10% over the last decade, despite the fact that participants in dominant sports such as basketball have decreased.

Key Features

Sporting economic activity in England alone increased from £3,358 million in 1985 to £10,373 million in 2000 and £15,471 million in 2005. This represents a real increase of 124% compared to the English economy which grew by 67% in the same period (Sheffield Hallam University, 2007), demonstrating the relative economic importance of this industry.

The participation of 'extreme' sports in the UK is huge. 0.7% (approximately 4.2 million) of all adults in the UK said that they engaged in an extreme sport in 2006 (Manley, June 2007). Approximately 1% of adults were reported to be skiers and 0.3% were snowboarders, 0.7% were climbing enthusiasts, whilst regular participation in surfing was 0.4%, 0.2% for water skiing and 0.1% for wind surfing. (Manley, June 2007) Of these industries, surfing is one of the fastest growing sports in the United Kingdom (Ward, Unknown).

In the U.S., in excess of 22 million people participate in 'extreme' sports (Active Marketing Group, 2007) and 'action sports' now generate one-third of sporting goods sales amounting to more than $14 billion. The growth of this industry has been so dramatic that sport participants in the U.S. have increased by about 10% over the last decade, despite the fact that participants in dominant sports such as basketball have decreased (Park, 2004).

The School has significant expertise with respect to mechanical engineering topics, this course simply applies this expertise to this industry in areas such as the following;

  • Manufacturing: Composites (mountain bikes, surfboards, wakeboards etc), plastics, wood, joining techniques (fixings for bindings, welding of tubes on frames, adhesives), fabrics (Kites etc), metals (skateboard trucks etc) and bearings.
  • Stress analysis: Flex of boards (a rider on a skateboard, surfboard or snowboard), stress concentrations (fixing points for bindings/kite lines), fatigue, thin cylinder theory (stress in bladders on kites) and Finite Element Analysis.
  • Fluid flow (over boards, past kites/parachutes): CFD, wind tunnel testing and coupling of fluids (water and air)
  • Vibrations/damping (of boards)
  • Dynamics/suspension (mountain bikes): Dynamic/impact loading
  • Heat transfer (loss of heat through a wetsuit)
  • Non destructive testing: Defects in composites
  • Quality

In addition, further expertise from elsewhere in the faculty will be drawn upon in the following areas;

  • Entrepreneurship (starting a business)
    • Marketing and self promotion
    • Running a small business
    • Product liability
    • Health and safety (composites manufacture)
    • Patents and IP

Resources that will facilitate this course include:

  • Autoclave and hot press for manufacturing composites.
  • Laser Doppler Vibrometer for vibration analysis
  • Hounsfield/Dennsion for materials testing
  • Strain gauge acquisition equipment
  • Thermal imaging cameras
  • Microscopes
  • Various Software including;
    • LabView for data Acquisition
    • NX/Solidworks
    • Fluent
    • Matlab

Design Studio

Modules

The foundation year 0 is designed to develop your mathematical, analytical and study skills, to equip you with the necessary academic skills required to successfully study engineering at a degree level. Your academic skills will be developed through engineering relevant modules including Mathematics, Engineering Science, Study Skills and IT, Manufacturing Technology and an Engineering Project.

In the first year, you would study: Engineering Science, Mathematics, Engineering Design, Materials and Introduction to Manufacturing Technology

In the second year, you would study: Group Project, Thermofluid Mechanics, Management Innovation and Sustainability, CAE and Stress Analysis, Extreme Sports Engineering, Rapid Product Development,

In the final year, you would study: Major Project, Stress Analysis and FEA, Materials and Manufacturing for Niche Markets, Extreme Sports Entrepreneurship.

Course Tutor(s)

  • Professor Peter Christopher Charlton
  • Kelvin Lake
  • Graham Howe
  • Richard Morgan
  • Dr Owen Williams
  • Andrew Thorn
  • Dr Arnaud Marotin
  • Andrew Griffith
  • Abigail Summerfield

Assessment

Students on this type of programme come with a natural interest in their specialism and the teaching team aims to tap into this interest so students enjoy learning and appreciate the benefits which an engineering degree can add to reinforce their areas of interest.

The assessments for the programme will be a mix of coursework and formal examination. Modules such as group project and Major project will also have presentations where you would be given the opportunity to showcase your work.

Career Opportunities

The extreme sports industry is a significant and growing employer. In 2005 sport-related employment was estimated to be 434,000, accounting for 1.8% of all employment in England and it grew by 19% over the previous 5 years (Sheffield Hallam University, 2007). This industry consists of retail, provision and marketing, however it also contains a sophisticated manufacturing element.

Entry requirements

Entry Criteria

For the foundation entry to our four year degrees, our offers are based on 32 UCAS points (previously 80). We will not specify the subject matter required. We will accept A levels, National Diplomas, Certificates, National Awards or equivalent, including NVQ Level 3, 14-19 Diploma and Access courses. Providing you achieve the points required, one A level would be sufficient. GCSE Maths at grade C or above is also required.

Our offers are not solely based on academic results. We take your skills, achievements and life experience into consideration. In such cases, they must provide evidence of capacity to pursue the course successfully. We like to give such applicants every opportunity to show that they have the motivation and ability to succeed in their chosen programme.

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