The challenge, nicknamed Subs in Schools, will draw on the success of the “F1 in Schools Challenge”, also run by Re-Engineering Australia, an organisation working to get more young people wanting to pursue engineering-technical-manufacturing career paths.
The “Future Submarine Technology Challenge” will give participating students hands-on experience with core submarine project elements, including project management.
The students will be required to establish a virtual company to complete the design project, assemble a team, manage the manufacturing process and present and market the final product.
They will also gain experience of design and manufacture by producing a scale model of a submarine hull and a scale model of one of the operational spaces within a submarine used for human habitation.
The impact of hydro-dynamics and other forces on the design will also be considered and students will have to understand energy generation, storage and usage methods.
Jack Atkinson, the general manager of engineering at ASC, formed a team of ASC engineers, graduates and apprentices to develop a prototype to test if the project was suitable and achievable by high school students.
To ensure the model was also cost effective, the team designed and built a working submarine model using commercially available radio control parts, a 3D printer and some drainpipe from a major hardware chain. They used software available at all high schools.
The model was successful and fully operational when tested in water.
The Australia-wide pilot program will involve five schools, including three schools in South Australia.
Brighton Secondary School teacher Steven Read said the program would challenge his students.
“A real submarine is a huge project and the students will love to sink their minds and skills into solving similar problems being faced by the designers of the Future Submarine,” he said.
Le Fevre High School is also in the trial competition.
The Defence Material organisation is another major sponsor of the project.
If the pilot proves successful, the program will be offered to year 11 and 12 students across Australia.