UBC Okanagan students engineering fruit processors and hovercraft

Two days of tough engineering challenges await first- and second-year students from UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering as the annual Engineering Design Competitions get underway next week.

On Thursday, April 10, second-year students will race their best hovercraft designs during the Engineering Two Design Competition, and on Monday, April 14, first-year students will tackle fruit and vegetable processing in the Engineering One Design Competition.

The public is welcome to attend the competitions and cheer on the teams.

Hovercraft Challenge for Engineering Two -- Thursday, April 10
The 14 teams of second-year Engineering students competing in next Thursday’s hovercraft design challenge will be aiming for energy efficiency while maximizing straight-line speed for sprint racing and maintaining the agility to weave through an 88-foot-long series of pylons in the obstacle course.

Their task is to design and construct a moving platform – a hovercraft – that can carry 500 pennies (weighing about 1 kg.) while performing tasks such as racing across the UBC Okanagan Gymnasium floor at top speed. Each hovercraft must record how much energy it has used, because energy efficiency is as important as speed in the scoring.

“The competition is intended to showcase each team’s expertise in structural, fluid mechanics, computer programming, and instrumentation,” says Dr. Vladan Prodanovic, one of the instructors for this term’s Applied Science 258 Hovercraft Project course. “The teams will be evaluated by judges including professional engineers and Engineering faculty, who will consider a visual inspection of the designed product, an oral presentation and written reports.”

Performance testing – the actual racing and time trials -- gets underway at 9 a.m. in the UBC Okanagan Gymnasium, followed by poster presentations about each team’s project from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and award presentations at 1 p.m.

Fruit and Veggie Processing for Engineering One – Monday, April 14
Apples and pears beware. Okanagan fruit and veggies will be pulped, pureed, sliced, diced, or otherwise transformed from raw material to processed product as 28 teams of students unveil innovative processing machines in the Engineering One Design Competition, Monday, April 14.

“Each team is inventing and building a hand-operated machine to process Okanagan fruits or vegetables, separating the usable from unusable parts and presenting the usable parts in an advantageous size or configuration,” says Dr. Andrew Labun, Associate Professor of Engineering, whose Applied Science 170 course culminates with the year-end design competition.

The design testing and presentations take place between 1 and 4 p.m. in the Sunroom in UBC Okanagan’s Student Service Centre. Awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m.

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