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Writer: Noluthando Motswai

Mangalani Miyambo is having a blast E xplosions are not for the faint hearted but for Mangalani Miy-

ambo, a mechanical engineering technologist, testing the im-

The demonstrator was also showcased at the Africa

Aerospace and Defence exhibition.

pact of an explosion on a military vehicle is all in a day’s work.

He adds that the vehicle took four months to put to-

The 30-year-old works for the Defence, Peace, Safety and Security,

gether and one of its features, once completed, is that

Landward Sciences situated at the Council for Scientific and Industrial

it would be possible to operate it using remote control.

Research (CSIR), a job that he says is fun but challenging at the same

“This will be an autonomous vehicle expected to be

time as it requires a lot of thought. As a mechanical engineering technologist, he provides technical

driven with a remote control and will better the lives of those who will be using it in dangerous situations.”

support services to institutions such as the Department of Defence. A lot of his work is of a confidential nature. Some of the work that Miyambo and his colleagues are involved in examines the results of a military vehicle being exposed to a blast. “We use blast test rigs to test what would happen to the human being inside the rig in the case of a blast. We blow up the vehicle and measure the impact of the blast on the rig.” A test rig is a scientific term for a replica of a military vehicle used in an explosive laboratory.

Ensuring safety Miyambo explains that when conducting such research, crash test dummy "humans" are placed in the vehicle to determine the likely impact on the human body if the vehicle exploded. “If the design of the rig fails during our test, it could have a negative impact on the military personnel inside the vehicle. “This is one of the purposes of our work, to ensure the safety of those inside the military vehicle.” He adds that this work includes testing the seats in the military vehicle, which contain energy absorbers. “This is to test how much force the seat can handle so that the Department of Defence will have the knowledge of the best seats to use.” Miyambo is part of the team working on the light armoured technology demonstrator, which is a military tactical vehicle used to test different types of technologies.

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Public Sector Manager • December 2016 / January 2017


PSM December/January Edition 2016/2017