Local students capture honors at UT Engineering Day competition

Published 9:20 am Friday, November 3, 2017

Students in the drafting and automotive mechanic programs at Hampton High School recently took part in the Engineering Day competition at the University of Tennessee and captured honors.

HHS Drafting teacher Daniel Arnett praised the work of the students not only on their performance at the event but also for their work to prepare for their contests in the weeks leading up to the UT Engineering Day competition.

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“They put in a lot of hard work,” Arnett said of his students.

Students in the drafting program captured first, second, and fourth place in the Balsa Wood Bridge contest.

Cody Vines brought home 1st place honors, the team of Trevor Elliot and Zach Story captured 2nd place, and Shyanne Tulle picked up a 4th place win in the event.

For the contest, Vines explained the students were tasked with creating a bridge from Balsa wood that would span a gap. The student’s bridges are then pressed from above with weight to determine the load-bearing capacity. The students are graded on the ratio of how much weight their bridge can hold divided by the actual weight of the bridge itself.

“They have a cut off at 55.12 pounds. That is the highest weight they will count toward it,” Vines explained. “If people reach the maximum it’s basically a contest to see who has the lightest bridge.”

Vines bridge surpassed the maximum load-bearing weight. His bridge weighed in at 21.55 grams, which gave his bridge a load to weight ratio of 1,160.09.

Elliot and Story’s bridge had a similar structure to Vines’ bridge.

“We tried to make it as small as we could,” Story said of their construction design.

The team came in 2nd place behind Vines.

“Like Cody’s our bridge surpassed the maximum amount, but his weighed less so he won,” Elliot said.

The team’s bridge weighed in at 24.5 grams, which gave them a load to weight ratio of 1,019.58.

For Shyanne Tulle this was her first time competing at the UT Engineering Day, so she decided to follow the bridge structure used by last year’s first place winner, Hampton alum Philip Arrington.

Tulle captured 4th place in her first run with the contest.

“It was fun, but it was also nerve-wracking,” she said.

Tulle’s bridge weighed in at 25 grams, which gave her a load to weight ratio of 898.01

The team of Zack Oliver and Kole Fisk captured 1st place in the Penny Boat competition.

For that contest, students are given a pre-cut piece of aluminum foil and directed to construct a boat. The boat’s design is tested based on the number of pennies it can hold before sinking.

“We weren’t planning on doing it,” Oliver said of his and Fisk’s decision to enter the contest. “We just went in and tried it for the heck of it.”

The two students took their piece of aluminum foil and shaped it into a circular boat to try to get a large surface area to distribute the weight of the pennies.

“Basically, our goal was to evenly distribute the weight of the pennies. If you get too much weight on one side it would start to take on water,” Fisk explained. “We put one penny in the center and sort of spiraled out. When the first layer was full, we did the whole thing again.”

In the end, Oliver and Fisk’s boat was filled with 325 pennies when it sunk.

Trinity Camillo captured 1st place in the Egg Drop competition during her first time participating in the Engineering Day contests.

“It was really nervous,” she said.

For her contest, Camillo was tasked with designing a contraption that was light-weight and would absorb the shock of a three-story drop while protecting an egg to keep it from breaking.

Camillo said the students were scored on the weight of their contraption as well as how many parts made up the device. For her entry, Camillo used foam and hollowed out a space to hold the egg between the two pieces. Once the egg was in place, the two pieces were secured together.

This year marked the first time Hampton High School’s automotive engineering program competed in the Balloon Car contest at the UT Engineering Day event.

The team consisted of Seth Roberts, Timothy Giardina, Michael Jarrett, and Marcus Allen Crowe.

Automotive Mechanics teacher Bruce Wiltshire praised the work of the team and what they were able to accomplish.

“It’s the first time they’ve ever worked together,” Wiltshire said, adding it was the first time any of the four had competed at UT Engineering Day.

In their initial showing, the team garnered a 9th place finish, but Wiltshire said they would take what they learned this year to prepare for next year’s event.

“We had to basically build a balloon-powered car out of popsicle sticks, tape, and wheels,” Roberts said.

The team decided to go with a three-wheeled design for their car.

Giardina explained the balloon power comes from filling a balloon, which then releases air through a valve to create propulsion.

“All in all, it was really fun,” Giardina said.

Jarrett said he also enjoyed taking part in the competition. “We got to be creative,” he said, adding that was his favorite part.

While Crowe enjoyed the event, he said he did not like the time constraints placed on them — the team had only 25 minutes to design and construct their car.

“The concept was very ingenuitive,” he said. “Sadly, we didn’t have enough propulsion power because the balloon got crimped.”