To celebrate Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, we have created sets of posters for schools that illustrate the amazing breadth and depth of engineering, and inspire pupils to consider careers in the field.
Engineering in the real world
Engineering in the real world showcases the engineering in all school subjects. No matter what a pupil’s interests or strengths, there is an engineering discipline for them.
To order a printed copy of the posters for your school, please email the Education team.
A pigment is used to change the colour of a substance. The pigment changes which wavelengths of light are reflected or transmitted by the substance.
Pigments are used all the time in the arts for colouring paint, ink, plastic or fabrics, and can also be used in other things such as cosmetics and food.
The process of making this pigments is an example of chemical engineering.
Computing is a creative and wide-ranging subject that can include anything from designing, developing and building hardware and software systems processing to making computer systems behave intelligently; and creating and using communications and entertainment media.
All the video games you play were designed and created by computer and software engineers.
Design and technology
Design and technology teaches the fundamental skills of engineering.
Design and technology is not just about making a product. It is about reviewing and improving your design. It is about finding and fixing a problem. It is about finding inspiration from anywhere, real or imagined. It is about exploring materials to get the most out of them. All of which are key to a career in any type of engineering.
Engineering has been essential in developing the ways of how we get information. A milestone was the invention of the printing press. Since then engineers have made it possible for us to share ideas, read stories and make information available to everybody.
The power of having information is like non-other. Giving people the ability to communicate ideas and share and generate their own thoughts has allowed us to take great strides in developing the technology that we have today.
Angkor Thom, located in present-day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by King Jayavarman VII.
The King, a Mahayana Buddhist, contracted the state temple known as the Bayon on the middle of the city. The Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and smiling stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak. The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes. Following Jayavarman's death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences.
Within the city was a system of canals, through which water flowed from the northeast to the southwest.
Throughout the empire an extensive network of roads connected every town, with rest-houses built for travellers.
A great amount of different engineering skills went into the planning and construction of this and other ancient cities.
To design the perfect roller-coaster an engineer must calculate the perfect angles, heights and directions that will allow the roller coaster to reach high speeds without going off the track.
The best roller coasters have stomach-churning loops. To enter a loop from the bottom the train needs to go fast enough to propel itself up and through the coaster. So, engineers need to work out what height the first drop needs to be to give the roller-coaster enough speed to get through the loop.
The length of the roller coaster is also important. If the track is too long, a car may not be able to keep moving on it and may just pause mid-ride. If the track is too short, then the cars could come crashing through the train house.
Sports engineering is a fast-growing field of engineering which includes the design and production of sports equipment and facilities, performance measurement and athletic feedback systems, and the study of kinematics, dynamics and biomechanics related to sports.
The field overlaps other fields of science and engineering, including physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and materials science.
This small, reusable microchip can diagnose multiple diseases, from cancer to malaria. The chip is made by standard inkjet printing, requires just 20 minutes to assemble, and only costs a penny.
These “lab-on-chip” devices can be used globally to diagnose diseases in remote areas and developing countries.
Currently, we do not have Engineering is... a posters in stock - however, we can still supply a print-ready digital copy of the posters upon request. To ensure that you get your free digital copy of the posters for your school, please email the Education team.
The Infinity Bridge in Stockton-On-Tees is a pedestrian and cycle bridge on the River Tees. The name Infinity Bridge comes from the shape of the bridge and reflection which looks like the mathematical symbol for infinity.
The Infinity Bridge is an award winning piece of engineering that made use of fantastic local expertise. All materials were sourced from within an hour from the bridge site. Local engineers and subcontractors were specifically sought out to provide everything from specialist welding to the light installations that change colour and light up the handrails as pedestrians cross the bridge.
The bridge has won several awards including the Institution of Structural Engineers Supreme Award 2009 for best structure and Green Apple Award for environment.
Hear Pete Winslow, a Senior Engineer at Expedition Engineering who worked on the Infinity Bridge, talk about engineering careers:
Pete Winslow interview
Creative problem solving
Oxford Circus has more than 80 million pedestrians crossing it each year, making it one of the most congested intersections in the world.
Engineering consultancy Atkins came up with a solution that gave pedestrians the freedom to move both straight ahead and diagonally across Oxford Street and Regent Street by introducing the UK’s first large scale diagonal crossing. Engineers used 2D and 3D computer modelling of pedestrians and vehicles to test their solution and gain approval from stakeholders and the public for the design.
Find out more:
Oxford Circus diagonal crossing - Atkins
Like all sportspeople, swimmers use an array of different types of engineering to improve their performance.
The polyurethane swimsuit was a major advance, designed to give better oxygen flow to muscles and trap air to improve buoyancy, as well as replacing traditional seams with ultrasonic bonding to reduce drag forces while swimming. Improvements were so good that 68 world records were set when the swimsuits were used in the Beijing Olympics 2008 and Rome World Championships 2009, and FINA (the international governing body of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and open water swimming) banned non-textile and full body suits. Engineers are now looking for ways to achieve the same results using woven fabrics.
Engineers are also working on better ways of analysing technique with underwater cameras that can measure details like the speed of the swimmer between frames. Swimmers and their coaches can then use this to maximise the thrust swimmers produce in the water.
Bioengineering is a growing discipline that has many different applications, from targeted drug delivery to assistive technology, to greatly improve quality of life for those in need.
One field in which bioengineering has made a significant difference is surgery. Improvements in imaging, 3D modelling and the computer-assisted simulation and planning of procedures enable the surgeon to know beforehand exactly what is wrong, what needs to be done, what effect this will have and, using post-operative imaging, to check that the surgery went as planned. Robotic technologies, such as the da Vinci telemanipulator, allow surgeons to carry out surgery with minimal incisions, making operations safer and less invasive for patients, and opening up the possibility of remote surgery.
Securing the future
Engineers at Harvard University have designed a tiny drone called the RoboBee. This coordinated agile robotic insect could be used for a variety of purposes: from pollinating crops if the bees disappear, to search and rescue missions, or even high resolution weather and climate mapping.
The design was inspired by nature, as engineers studied the hive behaviour of bees and other insects. This process, known as biomimicry, is also used by engineers to make advances in miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources, and to spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic smart sensors.
Find out more:
RoboBees - Harvard University
The irrigation systems of Mesopotamia and Egypt that date back to 6000 BCE are the earliest seen engineering works in the world. Due to the desert climate, life in Mesopotamia (Greek for 'land between the rivers') was only possible with irrigation systems transporting water to cities to grow crops. Since then, irrigation techniques have been used in agriculture to support every human life on the planet.
The Balinese system of irrigation, shown in the poster, is known as Subak. The rice terraces are such an important part of Balinese culture that in June 2012 the rice fields were awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Today water scarcity, the lack of sufficient available water resources, is an issue for approximately 40% of the world’s population. There is enough freshwater on the planet for the world’s population, but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed. Engineers are working on ways to support communities to irrigate their crops more efficiently and treat waste water before it is irrigated back to the crops.