February 17-23 the students in Kettering Labs took a study break or two to celebrate a week dedicated just to them.
Engineers Week is an annual celebration of “engineers, engineering students, and technicians—and all of the amazing things you do every day to make the world a better place,” according to the National Engineers Week Foundation. On campus there was a special UD spin to everything, from service activities to University trivia and more.
“College can be stressful,” said Josh Rellinger, senior mechanical engineering major, president of mechanical engineering honors society Pi Tau Sigma and organizer of Engineers Week. “We want to have a week to come up with engineering-related activities.”
Monday kicked off with two week-long events: a penny war, with proceeds donated to Ronald McDonald House, and an on-campus scavenger hunt for things like KU Fountain and the newest residence hall. Tuesday evening the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering hosted an activities night for local elementary-aged children. Engineering students helped the kids build catapults with Popsicle sticks, plastic spoons and marshmallows, and “elephant toothpaste” was created from the foamy reaction of hydrogen peroxide and yeast. Stephanie Mekus, a fifth-year chemical engineering major and president of SAMPE, said, “We’re getting kids interested in engineering. I did stuff like this with my mom when I was little, and now I’m an engineer.”
There was a duct-tape-your-professor-to-the-wall competition, guest speakers, and, the night before the closing ceremony on Friday, a dodgeball tournament. “There’s something about our generation and dodgeball. We can’t get enough,” said Rellinger.
The departments in the school of engineering competed against one another throughout the week and the chemical engineering department walked away with first place and $500 to fund a prize or event of their choice. Now it’s back to studying for midterms.
Click the photo to see more pictures from the week’s events.
A group of high school girls concluded their stay Friday in the Women in Engineering summer camp, a weeklong residential program designed to encourage more women to pursue careers in engineering, a field traditionally dominated by men.
The University is working to close the gender gap and encourage more women to major in engineering in college.
For some civil engineering undergraduates, mapping out plans for summer break will be on hold for a few more weeks.
Rather than join peers in Daytona Beach, Fla., or go home after finals, the 23 students enrolled in the CEE 215L summer course spent the afternoon of May 7 working in teams scattered across campus surveying the land.
According to Deogratias Eustace, the course adviser, students are challenged to apply knowledge of surveying techniques and processes from prior theoretical courses to hands-on, practical situations.
“These students are making great strides in their area,” Eustace said. “They’re all committed to this, which certainly helps.”
Civil engineering majors are required to complete the course to graduate.
Starting next week, the class will be working at Mount St. John’s in Kettering, Ohio. There, students will gain real-world experience in creating topographical maps.
Owned by the Marianist brothers, Mount St. John houses a seminary and retreat center situated on a 150-acre piece of land. Eustace said the brothers requested the students’ help so they could avoid the possibility of extensively harming the grass around campus.
The professor said the brothers look forward to finding out how their land really looks.
To the civil engineering students at UD, it’s all about making business fun again.
“It’s nice because it’s hands-on experience,” Don Wilson, a junior civil engineering major, said. “We’re starting to see the method to the madness.”
Notebook in hand, I leaned close to hear the soft-spoken words of a humble 84-year-old scientist. Winning the Nobel Prize in chemistry in the twilight of his life hadn’t gone to Charles Pedersen’s head.
“What I did, I did well,” he told me after UD President Brother Raymond Fitz, S.M., presented him with an honorary master’s degree in a living room full of family and friends in Salem, N.J., in 1989. “I worked in a peculiar way and things worked out. If you have an abnormal way of doing things, you do have an advantage because you’re not imitating anybody else. If you have innovation, then you’re relatively safe.
“But it doesn’t mean you necessarily have anything good,” he quipped.
Pedersen ’26 is part of the 2012 inaugural class who will be inducted into the School of Engineering’s Hall of Fame at a campus gala Friday, part of a celebration of the school’s 100th anniversary. Also honored will be John McHale ’78, Charles Wilke ’40, Emerson Climate Technologies and The Kettering Family Philanthropies.
Pedersen shared the Nobel Prize for discovering crown ethers during a long career at DuPont. Today, crown ethers are being used in everyday applications from isolating and removing extremely small yet harmful concentrations of mercury in drinking water to helping identify potassium in blood samples to aid in early diagnosis heart disease.
Pedersen, who died eight months after the living room gathering, turned down an honorary doctorate from his alma mater. When I asked him how he wanted history to remember him, he said, “The only honest thing I can say is as a man who knew what he could do.”
Almost a year later, two Flyers received the trophy recognizing their success in an international aircraft design competition.
Last spring, John Puttmann ’10 and Brian Cranston ’10 traveled to England to present their two-seat electric airplane at the IT FLIES UK competition. Traveling with them were Andrew McClinton ’13, Eric Fuerst ’13 and Brian Walsh ’13, who submitted their design for the C130 Hercules military transport plane that won first place in the IT FLIES USA competition.
Each team was responsible for explaining its design to pilots from the Royal Air Force, who then tested it. The judging was based on the accuracy with which the plane flew.
About a dozen teams participated, but it was Puttmann and Cranston’s conceptual plane that received top honors. The duo started planning the aircraft over a year ago in fall 2010.
“I’m very proud of the students,” said Tony Saliba, dean of the School of Engineering. “They represented the University very well. To go overseas and compete against other teams is a real tribute to their efforts, but also to the well-rounded education they are receiving here.”
For a little less than $5 a day, using six newspapers the size of the Dayton Daily News, ETHOS students Jennifer Dodaro, Dan Kemlage and Claire Ellerhorst helped families in underdeveloped countries cook for a week and save lives.
“They normally throw everything and anything into the stove — plastic bottles, wood,” Dodaro said. The plastic melts too quickly and villagers most often have to walk miles carrying heavy loads of wood.
A 15-minute walk for a light load of papers is changing that. The students formed the six newspapers into 10 logs, soaked them, inserted them into a press and allowed them to dry. The logs burn cleaner and don’t require much back-breaking work.
The World Health Organization estimates 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using solid fuels (wood, animal dung, crop waste and coal) in open fires and leaky stoves. Nearly 2 million people a year die prematurely from indoor air pollution. Nearly half the deaths among children younger than 5 years old from acute lower respiratory infections are from indoor air pollution.
During the summer, ETHOS 33 students worked in 11 different countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa. When these three students returned to Dayton, they left the town of Comitancillo, Guatemala, breathing a little easier.
The National Science Foundation funded a STEM program this summer that brought elementary and high school teachers from the Miami Valley region together with UD engineering faculty. The program had two goals: to sponsor projects beneficial to economic success and to bring hands-on learning into the classroom to inspire the next generation of engineering students.
One project aimed to reduce energy consumption at St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter. One teacher explained the beginning of the idea process, likening it to shooting a paintball gun – the group was hitting the target but splattering a vast area. To narrow its focus the group organized its solutions into eight categories: windows, solar, water, air flow, lighting and landscaping.
When giving the group a tour of the shelter, program director Ann Goebel kept repeating, “This is our home. We live here.” So out of 10 requirements, the teachers made safety the top priority, followed by energy conservation, cost to implement and user-friendliness.
The group discovered its strongest solution was a reflective roofing material to deflect sunlight. Teachers created a plywood prototype and tested four materials by recording the roof’s temperature every five minutes for an hour.
A metalized film called BoPET – essentially a silver space blanket – provided the best results in keeping the prototype cooler than the air temperature. The group recommended further testing but agreed that, with enough time, their reflective roof idea could help reduce energy consumption by keeping St. Vincent de Paul Gateway Shelter cool.
A new statue of St. Joseph carrying Jesus graces the entry to the School of Engineering on campus. Tomorrow’s dedication of the statue during Reunion Weekend will kick off a yearlong celebration of the engineering school’s 100th anniversary. Today, the school enrolls a record number of students and performs more sponsored research than any Catholic engineering school in the country.
Whether it’s the screaming whine of a sport bike or the loud rumble of a chopper, the noise of a motorcycle is part of its allure.
So I needed no apology from the team of University of Dayton engineering students who opted not to include an exhaust pipe or damper with the internal combustion engine they added to an all-electric motorcycle.
“It’s really loud,” they said.
Well, that’s what makes it fun.
Undergraduate teams from four U.S. colleges — UD, Brigham Young University, Colorado State University and University of California-Davis — showed off their hybrid engine designs at UD Arena today for the Dayton-based Innovative Scientific Solutions, in conjunction with Innovative Scientific Solutions and the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Their task had been to convert the all-electric power system of a Zero motorcycle into a hybrid system. Two teams added an internal combustion engine, and two added hydrogen fuel cells.
The designs were crude — a one-gallon gas can duct-taped to the seat; two large, jetpack-like canisters filled with hydrogen bolted to the rear fender — but the science was anything but.
The UD squad added a generator and model airplane motor to their bike, using a constant 5,600 rpms of internal combustion to recharge their battery on the go. Miles per single charge improved 40 percent.
The UC-Davis team used a screen to filter out electrons from hydrogen molecules. When the electrons found their way around the filter, they created energy that could be transferred to the battery. And when the electrons rejoined the hydrogen molecules, they combined with oxygen to create water: the motorcycle’s only exhaust.
All of the designs were much more efficient and environmentally friendly than the standard sportbike or chopper. And the hydrogen hybrids were practically silent — the gentle clicking of the chain the only sound of movement.
Odd as it was to witness a silent motorcycle, these bikes still had what counts: powerful off-the-line torque; the maneuverability of two wheels and a light frame; speed at the flick of the wrist. And the students got to modify their bikes to improve efficiency and power.
You know, that sounds like a lot of fun, too.
When senior Steven Brophy enjoyed a cup of tea made on a stove he reconstructed for a school in Tanzania, he knew that living in slums for two months was well worth it.
Not because the tea was delicious, but because the four stoves working by the end of Brophy’s summer 2010 trip provide the school with improved technology. Brophy designed the project himself based on the engineering department’s ETHOS (Engineers for Technical Humanitarian Opportunities for Service-Learning) program. The University funded his venture.
“Firewood is super expensive and hard to find in Tanzania,” Brophy said. “By using this appropriate technology the school can sustain itself and save money. It is three times less expensive.”
Brophy repaired the system thatruns on cow manure — a resource already available to the school — and provides a gas burner for the kitchen.
“I was a little doubtful for how prepared I was,” he said. “I didn’t know too much about the system so I researched it and used my handy skills.”
While in Africa, Brophy also went on three safaris, climbed mountains, visited Zanzabar Island, and volunteered in Kenya for 10 days.
“At the end of my trip the maintenance manager at the school told me he was really glad that I was here,” Brophy said. “He was doubtful at first, so it was really good to hear him say that.”