The Brentwood School Robotics team featured in BBC Two’s Robot Wars on Sunday, 19th March 2017.
In the first series where teams from schools have taken part, the Brentwood School Robot Wars team, made up of pupils studying Design Technology, Physics and Mathematics, were put up against some of the UK’s finest engineers.
The students’ robot, named Expulsion, impressed fellow competitors, the show’s producers and presenting duo Angela Scanlon and Dara O'Briain alike.
Design and Technology teacher Thomas Walland, who led the project said “Being involved in Robot Wars has changed the way pupils take on challenges. Over the last few months I have seen these pupils grow from Sixth Form students into true engineers.”
Seventeen-year-old Georgina added: “For that week we were immersed in a different world where everyone lived and breathed engineering. It was a fantastic experience. We learnt so much in such a short space of time.”
Chief Engineer Henry Wenham, also 17, said: “As an aspiring engineer I found the real risk of failure meant we had to think outside the box if we were to be up against world class engineers.”
Chief Physicist Nicole Guo and Chief Designer Ethan Goodbody, both aged 16, completed the four-man Expulsion team which was ably supported by a sub-team of Ruben Wantling (Design Engineer), Sabrina Skilling (Engineer), Rebecca Ashford (Designer), James Cromarty (Weapons Coordinator), and Henry Rappolt (Robotic Engineer).
Mr Walland’s commented: “Each student took away both an increased understanding of engineering but also an experience which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Robot Wars allows them to use their STEM subjects in a real world way and the very real risk of failure makes it an ideal way to develop innovation.”
Each member of the team is looking at Engineering-based careers in the future and built Expulsion in Mr Walland’s Robotics Club.
And the story doesn’t end with Robot Wars. The School’s Robotics Club is busy working on Expulsion: The Next Generation and will be taking part in competitions across the country including “Robots Live” and “Extreme Robots”.
Expulsion weighs in at 105kg and was built inside of two months on a budget of just £1,000. It boasts a unique spinning disk made out of 10mm military grade steel, which has four spikes hidden inside. The spikes only protrude once the weapon gets up to full speed - preventing opponents from trying to slow it down.
Expulsion has the ability to spin one way to slash the opponent and the other way to skewer them: a robot kebab with blades which move at an impressive 20 times a second - or 77.3mph at top speed. The tip of the blade at full speed has been measured to exert the same pressure if you were 10,000,000 metres underwater!
Expulsion uses a two-wheel drive system and features a large box-shaped chassis with a unique curved front end. Its armour features several holes in it to save weight, and the robot's top is decorated with flame graphics and the Brentwood School logo.
The innovative 'blade sandwich' design came about after some unusual brainstorming. Team Captain Georgina Henwood explained: “We were really hungry when we first sat down to start designing. We were thinking about bagels and the whole ‘ring with spikes sandwiched in between’ came out of that train of thought!"