A design concept created by a Derby Grammar School student as part of his A-level coursework is set to be adopted by Rolls-Royce in Derby.

Sam Veitch, 18, of Abbots Bromley, achieved an A in Design Technology alongside his grades in Maths and Physics and is off to Kingston University to study Aerospace, Astronautics and Space Technology.

He worked with Rolls-Royce on solving an issue with the fluid flow visualisation rig which is currently used to test how fuel acts in mock engines.

Currently the rig shakes and Sam was tasked by the Aerospace Division Lean Burn Team to create a system to stop the vibration so that they can obtain more accurate readings.

He said: “I got in touch with Rolls-Royce and was liaising with Richard Mulnier, R-R Chief Project Engineer on the Lean Burn Combustion Programme. I told him what my DT A-level was about and that if there was a particular problem that they had then I would try and fix it for them as best as I could, and then I would need to present my solution to them and they could see how I’d done.

“The problem I had to solve was that the rigs that hold their engines while they are being tested were rattling, preventing them from taking accurate readings. So I did my research and came up with some designs. We had a meeting with Richard and the technicians and we also had a dial-in to the meeting from a company in Germany that R-R work with. It was great once I got going because everyone in the room was really enthused by the project and we were bouncing ideas off each other, the room was full of energy.

“I used the feedback and built a working model which involved using straps welded to weights. R-R were really pleased with what I had done and they want to have me back to develop the design further. They are really interested and I think they want to make a full scale model to test it.

“I’d love to work for a company like R-R. Ultimately I’d like to work on rocket engines if I could as I’ve always been fascinated by space since I was about three years old.”

Mr Mulnier said that he was impressed with Sam’s work.

He said: “Sam’s solution was simple and could be readily applied to the current rig. The intention is to adopt Sam’s proposal as it is expected to reduce the variance in the data collected and thus improve the design quality of our future Lean Burn combustion technology.

“It was exciting to see Sam grasping the benefits of 3D printing in the mocked-up solution he presented. It provided him with a powerful learning opportunity which will stand him in good stead for his future career in engineering.”

Paul Lakritz who is Head of DT and Assistant Head – Academic at Derby Grammar School, said: “Sam was fortunate to establish links with Rolls-Royce who provided him with a real and technically challenging design problem. Through considered research and many visits to Rolls-Royce for consultation and investigation purposes Sam refined his design thoughts.

The practical solution that Sam presented to Rolls-Royce perfectly satisfied their initial design requirements and impressed them with the ingenuity and quality of production. Sam developed an appreciation for the complexity of the design process within an engineering organisation, an experience that has begun his journey into the world of aerospace engineering.”