Updated Umbrella for a Windy World

18 December 2022

UC Mechanical Engineering Honours Student Develops Design to Make Life Easier for Umbrella Users in High Wind

  • Yazmin Shipley

    Yazmin Shipley graduates from the University of Canterbury last week with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours and has already found work with Air New Zealand.

Yazmin Shipley

Yazmin Shipley has been completing a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in 2022. As part of her course, she undertook ENME 404-16S2 - Aerodynamics and Ground Vehicle Dynamics. This course “teaches the fundamental understanding and some of the design skills required for aerodynamic design in the aviation, automotive, wind, and hydroelectric power industries, and strengthens skills required for almost any industrial application with moving fluids.”


Yazmin decided to develop a novel umbrella design for her research project in this course. “The project idea surfaced on a windy rainy day whilst I, and many other students around campus, were battling umbrellas in the wind. Observing umbrella designs, ENME 404 helped me to identify that there was an opportunity for drag reduction, which posed the potential to improve user comfort and accessibility for people with reduced physical strength.”


Yazmin researched umbrella designs currently available and found there was a gap in the market. She then developed a new design, built a prototype at home, and tested it in the University of Canterbury wind tunnels.  


The design she came up with has lower air resistance, so it is easier to handle in high winds. 


ENME404 course coordinator, Prof Mark Jermy was impressed, “Yazmin chose a unique topic for her project, and did an excellent job with it. She thought about everything, including the angle that rain falls at on windy days. Her new design is far easier to hold in high winds. This is great mechanical engineering, using knowledge to solve real-world problems!”  


Yazmin concludes, “I chose to study engineering to fuel my curious nature and positively impact people’s every-day lives through problem solving. This project encapsulated everything I enjoy about engineering. I am excited to utilize the aerodynamic knowledge, problem-solving and critical analysis I developed in this course in the future as a graduate engineer with Air New Zealand.” 

  • Yazmin Shipley

    The design she came up with has lower air resistance, so it is easier to handle in high winds.


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