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Designing a water-balanced railway

Activities

FPT (Research): Investigate other methods that could be used to transport people up to the Centre for Alternative Technology.

FPT (Product analysis): Make a study of the carriages used on the water-balanced railway. Redesign them so that they are more efficient, using lighter weight materials that come from sustainable sources.

DMA: Analyse the ergonomic success and limitations of the carriages. Using this information, redesign a carriage that would be safer and more comfortable for people to travel in. Build a model of your proposal and show it to a range of potential end users. Record their findings in the evaluation of your project.

DMA: Design a system that CAT could use to pump water back into the reservoir at the top of the railway after it has been used to lower the lift. The system must use a renewable energy source and sustainable materials.

DMA: Design and build a model to show how the water-balanced railway works, using weights instead of water to move the carriages up and down. Design a control system to regulate the flow of water in and out of the system, the speed of the carriages, and their position to ensure that they start and finish in the correct places.

FPT: Investigate the different methods that designers and engineers have developed to transport people over short distances during the past 100 years. Explain where these systems have been used, how they have been powered and controlled, and identify the materials and manufacturing methods in their construction.

FPT (Product analysis): Choose a building in your area that has been built recently. Find out as much as you can about how and with what it was made, then write a short report to record your findings.

FPT: Draw a flow chart to show the sequence of events that need to be followed in order for the water-balanced railway to function effectively and safely. Include all aspects of sensing and feedback.

FPT: Identify where the water-balanced railway loses energy and suggest how this could be reduced. Present your findings and recommendations as a table.

Making a model lift system



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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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