Several schools of thought believe that innovation has a critical role to play in a nation’s economic growth, we believe so too, hence our reason for appreciating and promoting creative thinking . Today we bring to you another great milestones attained by the students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University which has left us dumbfounded.
Some students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, designed and fabricated an aerodynamically stable mini version formula one car with some interesting products that Nigeria can export to the world. This was made known to our source by their supervisor Dr. Solomon Nwaigbo, who is the coordinator of Chisco Institute of Transportation Studies while speaking in his office.
The car whose designing process started few years back but recently completed, represents what an effective racing car would look like. The design concept was adopted from that of a fish due to its streamline nature. We used a Kawasaki power bike engine. The car takes off and stops as manipulated by the driver. Generally, automotive technologies are applicable in so many areas of life. When people hear of automotive engineering and automotive systems, they think only of cars, but when you look at the rail system, ocean liners, fishing trolleys, even the generator in your house, you see that they are powered by an automotive plant. A car is just an automobile. So in UNIZIK, students at the first level of engineering are made to have a hands-on learning and a feel of what automotive engineering is all about, Dr Solomon further said.
The racing car is flexible so the design concept can be adapted, developed further and used for the production of private and commercial vehicles. The idea is not actually to make a racing car for racing purposes, no; but to bring the knowledge that it is possible to make automobiles to the level that could serve the elementary needs. There are a lot of ongoing researches in that area now in the university. Other people are looking into shuttle bus, power bikes, tricycles etc. So such design can spur good engineering inputs and somehow, we will be part of the global automobile producers.
Previous Innovative Products Created By UNIZIK Students According To Dr Solomon
We have produced welding electrodes and now waiting for manufacturers to key in and produce. Over time, Nigeria has been importing flux from Switzerland but when China came up with a cheaper brand, we diverted to China. By 1998, most of the industries had folded up because they could no longer afford the flux, produce in Nigeria and compete with the Chinese so we started importing the finished product from China
We came up with the first locally made electrode in 1999. Currently, we have an improved version which will compete favourably with imported ones even in terms of price because the flux is made from agro waste, solid minerals etc. The constituents of the welding electrode flux can be generated from wastes. We have abundant solid minerals in Jos; the problem is making out time and money to give it a good try.
Wire Drawing Flux
Similar to that, we have also produced a wire drawing flux for manufacturers that draw wires. An example of what wire drawing is: In the production of nails, the wires come in very large diameters and you need to reduce them to smaller diameters to have the different sizes of nails like six, five, two and and half inch nails; the diameters vary. The drawing of the wire is a very sensitive one and if you don’t have the flux (also called the lubricant), the wire will be cutting while the operation is going on. Even in wire production, there are different gauges of wires; they come in different diameters, some very tiny, sensitive, flexible wires. You need this wire drawing ux to make sure you don’t have them disjointed or cut off until you complete the coil. We have gotten to the point of testing and we have done the preliminary test, what we need now is funding to get a large quantity, enough volume that will run a whole lot of coils so that we see how continuous (sustainable) it will be and see how it will degrade overtime.
We made and presented the first pencil in the last three, four years. The pencil lead was made here. The lead was locally sourced. It is not real lead but it looks like lead. That is what the whole world will call it but actually, there is no lead in it. Normally, children bite the pencil and eat it. We incorporated some natural fibre, some carbon and added some solid minerals and baked it enough at high temperature manually because there is a clay constituent and it turned to lead. It can write. One of the good properties of a pencil is that it must be erasable, we carried out all the tests and it was graded according to the international grading of shading. The pencil was classified. You could get a good 2B and 2H pencils after the manufacture.
These are indeed great milestone that have been achieved so far by UNIZIK students, we are happy about this and we believe more are coming!!