UMC Links

Hurl an Egg, Catapult a Cougar

Dec. 6, 2004 — The University of Utah’s Department of Mechanical Engineering will host its third annual Undergraduate Research Day on Thursday Dec. 9. The event features displays of student research projects, and competitions in which devices are built to hurl eggs and stuffed cougars – the mascot of rival Brigham Young University.

The fun takes place in the Olpin Union Building ballroom and the surrounding area from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. News media are invited to attend the event, which is open to the public.

“Undergraduate student participation in research is an ever-growing strength of this department that serves the students and faculty alike,” says Joe Klewicki, professor and chair of mechanical engineering.

“Research by undergraduates is at the heart of what makes a research university a special place to get an education,” says Ray Gesteland, the university’s vice president for research.

Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Research Day features three main events:

— From 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., undergraduate research projects will be showcased during poster presentations. Cash awards of up to $250 will be given to the winning poster presentations. Projects deal with various topics, including cancer therapy, sandwiched carbon-fiber panels to make automobiles more resistant to collisions, and turbulent flow methods that can predict the spread of chemicals in the atmosphere.

— From 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. teams of local junior high school students will try out devices they have built called trebuchets, which are catapult-like contraptions powered by a counterweight rather than by a sudden release of tension. The teams will compete to determine which trebuchet can fling small, stuffed toy cougars – BYU’s mascot – the farthest and most accurately across the ballroom. Students from Glendale Middle School, Fairfield Junior High School and North Davis Junior High School are expected to compete.

— From 10:45 a.m. to 11:35 a.m., first-year mechanical engineering students will see how far they can throw eggs across the ballroom using vehicles they built that act like javelin throwers. The devices in the JavEGGlin competition will race to a launch point and the hurl an egg as far as possible. More than 100 students have been grouped into design teams for the JavEGGlin event.