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UW Engineering Students Win Regional Student Design Competition

May 4, 2012
Students working
University of Wyoming students Kodi Dixon of Gillette, front, and Daniel Barkhurst of Encampment, both juniors in mechanical engineering, prepare their vehicles for a test run. They designed self-propelled devices that successfully completed a relay race during the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) recent design competition in Baton Rouge, La. Other team members were Kodi McKinney of Pinedale and Tyler Stingley of Powell. (UW Photo)

A University of Wyoming team claimed first place among 19 university teams in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) recent design competition in Baton Rouge, La.

UW's team members were Daniel Barkhurst of Encampment, Kodi Dixon of Gillette, Cody McKinney of Pinedale and Tyler Stingley of Powell. All are juniors in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. They were challenged to design four self-propelled devices that could collectively complete a relay race in the shortest period of time. Each device had to contain a unique, on-board energy source and trigger the motion on the next device. The designs had to meet a rigid set of guidelines.

"This team was particularly impressive since the four students undertook this project on their own time," says Department Head Paul Dellenback. "The project was not a part of their course work, and the students did not get any academic credit for working on this project , as was the case for many other university participants."

To launch the vehicles, the UW students utilized custom electronics, including programmable disc brakes, clever power sources, and vehicle chassis that were constructed with a rapid prototyping machine in their designs. Their final solution resulted in the four vehicles traversing the 12-meter course in just over five seconds. 

According to the ASME problem statement, "Providing energy to a world with a growing population and rising expectations is a challenge that engineers must embrace and solve. So many factors must be considered and balanced: cost, efficiency, resource availability, environmental impact, sustainability and more."

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