Stellenbosch University
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UCM 2016 Vacation Training
Author: Wibke de Villiers
Published: 25/08/2016

An integral part of the B.Eng Civil degree at Stellenbosch University, is the vacation training that the undergraduate students have to undertake over the course of their studies. To this end, the UCM announced a call for applications earlier this year for vacation training amongst the Civil undergraduate students, for the 2016 winter recess, to be conducted in the Structural Laboratory at Stellenbosch University. After an overwhelming number of applications, the following 6 students were selected (from left to right): Seung Cho (3rd year), Veronica Mwamfupe (3rd), Michael Colclough (2nd), Hanro Muller (2nd), Louis Botha (4th) and Gerard Maleke (2nd).

Following a safety induction, the students spent four weeks in the laboratory, under the supervision of the UCM staff, expanding their skill set in design, construction and experimentation. The tasks included:

  • designing and constructing backdrops for experimental setups, to improve the quality of the photographing and documenting of common experiments
  • determining the precision of the "strain gun" instrument and also writing a best practice document for the use of it
  • setting up the laboratory to do drying shrinkage tests on cement-based masonry units
  • conducting tensile tests and cracking tests on plastic concrete
  • researching the composition of sunlight, as well as the use of bacteria to heal cracks in hardened concrete

The students were not only exposed to the practicalities of working in an active laboratory, but the tasks they completed also made a meaningful contribution to the laboratory and current UCM research projects. Hopefully the students were also inspired to consider postgraduate studies in their future!