Ben Craven

Ben Craven
Week 7 – Using basic maths to prove the viability of your project.

This week the famous Ben Craven, tutor of 1st year PDE, gave us a talk all about maths. Ben wanted to explain to us the importance of using maths when designing a product. You can create any product with your imagination however, how do you know the idea will feasibly work?

At the beginning of your project when deciding on a concept to pursue, you should do some basic maths calculations (without the need of a calculator) to check if your idea would work.

The idea of not using a calculator is strange because as engineers we rely upon the device to help us. During the talk this week, Ben distributed an array of questions for us to tackle, using our initiatives.

To the right is my attempt at calculating how far a car could travel from the energy of boiling 350ml of water for a mug of tea. When first reading the question, it seemed ridiculous but once you break it down, it all makes sense. Assumptions are made throughout, but the final answers should be fairly similar. 

Who knew a car could travel approximately 60m from the energy of boiling water for a cup of tea!

I think Ben’s main point this week is you never know what will or won’t work but by using these basic calculations can open your eyes to what possibilities lie ahead for your project. 

If your project idea is unlikely to work based off your calculations, you can make the necessary changes to adapt to allow your idea to be taken forward in the design process.

1st March 2021.

My Calculations steps:

To begin the calculation, I found the specific heat capacity of water, 4200J/kg°C. Assuming, the temperature of water from the tap is 20°C, the change in water temperature to boil is 80°C. From here using the thermal energy equation, I found the energy required to heat the water, 134,400J.

For the next stage, I assumed a car would roughly travel at 40 miles/gallon and found the energy density of fuel to be 34.2MJ/l. To calculate the distance the car could travel, I created an equation relating all of the units of each value, resulting in a distance of 60m approx.