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Oil slick challenge

Our Damp;T department runs extra-curricular clubs and the Young Engineers challenges win enthusiastic involvement from Year 8 and 9 pupils.

This year the challenge, Operation Clean Up, was to design and build a craft capable of reaching a stricken vessel and to collect the leaking oil before low tide. On the basis of their paper proposals, two teams from the school were invited to the finals at the Navy's School of Marine and Air Engineering, HMS Sultan in Gosport, to try out their model vessels.

Forty teams took part and each "pollution busting" craft had to navigate through a narrow reef into a lagoon and collect the oil pouring from the ship. It was set up in a large tank. The winning team collected the most oil and the smallest amount of water.

In a separate competition, participants had to give a presentation on the design and building of their craft. Our school's team, "Deep Fat Frier" Sam Colliss, Ziggy Stowe and Richard Thornton - won Best Presentation.

James and Simon Halstead (pictured) were placed third in the oil-collecting challenge with their craft called "RFA Envirovac". This prize, too, was won by "Deep Fat Frier" in a clean sweep. Students gained a great deal in terms of problem-solving, team-work and working with materials, and it was a lot of fun.

Cliff Flowers

Teacher of technology at the Portsmouth Grammar School

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