Reflection: Victor Tse

l If I Knew Then What I Know Now
Through active participation throughout the engineering design process, I have
come to recognise how significant the gap is between knowing the theory, and
actually applying it in a practical and creative manner. If I had known how
significant this gap was when I first started this course, I would have ensured
our team planning was much more comprehensive by ensuring that we had
considered all areas where failure could occur. By doing this in the planning
stages, we could have responded to any issues found during testing faster as we
would already be familiarised with them and have solutions considered.
With our initial battery designs for instance, although we knew the theory well,
we were not particularly experienced with implementing it in an efficient and
consistent manner in the labs. As a result we kept making mistakes that resulted
in inconsistent power results in our cell design. Over time however, our weekly
reflections in our meetings became more comprehensive and we were able to
fully recognise our mistakes and learn from them. Consequently our final design
achieved very consistent results.
The same applies for our car design, as we were very slow at responding to any
issues that arose during testing. This was because we found it incredibly
difficult to work around the constraints of the lego pieces, in particular towards
how to securely hold the motor and aligning the gear ratio to fit with the chassis.
While we understood concepts like traction and centre of mass, we did not
know of a quantitative means of measuring and assessing these properties so a
lot of it became trial and error, which again led to inconsistency.
We would have performed much better in the competition if we were not
constantly short on time in the labs as a result of inconsistent battery design,
which meant we did not test its performance with the car as comprehensively as
we would have liked.
My 10 words of advice for next semester’s class would be: “ensure you’ve
considered all possible areas where failure could occur”.

l Plan for Procrastination
The pace of our efforts was not as quick as we would have liked; however I do
not believe it was due to procrastination, as I will explain below.
Our conceptual design and testing in the labs in earlier weeks was quite slow (as
mentioned previously); however I believe that this was because we were
overwhelmed by the scope of the task rather than due to procrastination. Our
early progress in design and testing stalled because we did not know how to go
about doing the task and as a result we were lacking creative ideas to test. In

l Your Expectations This course has met my expectations well.later weeks we were plagued with issues of consistency and reliability of our cell and car designs. so although our final results in the competition were not as high as we would have liked. We could have also taken materials out of the lab to construct the battery at home. venture capitalist. I have also learnt a lot about car design and all its engineering considerations. I will make sure that our team planning for labs is much more comprehensive. Working on it outside lab hours would have also allowed us to refine our skills and overcome our inexperiences sooner. I have developed my communication skills. and everything we learnt regarding engineering design. how we were able to work well together as a team. I have learnt a lot about batteries. Although we were constantly plagued by time constraints. Had we taken this initiative it would have meant more time spent on testing rather than construction in the labs. we were still able to come up with a working solution to meet all the deadlines for all the tasks. This could have been achieved in our current project for instance by investing more time into researching and brainstorming ideas to fully understand the scope of the problem statement and for thoroughness in the consideration of all possible battery and car designs. and how to make important . l Design for Success I believe our team worked well together over the entire course. Over my next big engineering project. However our slow progress here was more a result of inexperience rather than a product of procrastination. and as an engineer. Although frustrating and difficult. or requested to take the lego kit outside the lab such that we could have had more time to understand the kit’s limitations and to build the car. This has allowed me to improve my teamwork skills – I have worked well with my team and have tried to be as involved as I can be in all team activities. As mentioned previously. understanding all the considerations needing to be taken into account during design and testing. it has effectively taught me how to self-learn. I am still very satisfied with how we went in the course in terms of how we were able to come up with a working solution (we just needed more time for testing and minor tweaking). our only critical issues were a lack of creativity in early weeks and inexperience. understanding how to think in terms of the different perspectives of a client. I have learnt how to think more like an engineer regarding strategies towards team building and brainstorming. and in turn I believe I have met the expectations of the course well. I believe that everyone in our team was working really hard all throughout semester.

. This would have improved the effectiveness of all teams by being completely up to date on the electrochemistry theory. However I feel that had more electrochemistry theory been covered as soon as possible in the earlier rather than later weeks. effectively giving them more time to design and test battery ideas. many teams would not have been so overwhelmed as to how to approach the task. l Your Feedback Overall the course was quite good.management decisions like making the right compromises or the right approaches in order to get the project done on time.