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Old 09-02-2007, 07:41 PM   #1
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Default engineering project piqued curiosity of education major.

so, my fiance, being a mechanical engineer at the illustrious University of Oklahoma, has been given a project. actually, her group has been given a project and i have not been asked to help.

which is good, because im an education major and work full-time. so i wouldnt have time to help, even if i could (which is doubtful, given my non-background in engineering).

but the project has intrigued me. heres the project:

Quote:
Your team needs to design and build a Water-activated vehicle. Some requirements are:
  • a 5-gallon bucket with 4 gallons of water is the potential energy source.
    you need to use the potential energy source to power your vehicle. The vehicle must work on its own and use only the energy from the bucket of water and then complete all tasks.
    your vehicle must deliver your egg to the "reactor site".
    the "reactor site" is in a 7cm deep protective structure and 3 meters from your starting point.
    cannot use: electricity, chemical, fire, gravity (exceot for the potential energy source) as power sources.
    the vehicle must be a single assembly (i.e. you cannot leave part of the vehicle behind).
    the egg cannot be hard-boiled.
    maximum vehicle dimensions: 30X30X60 cm.
    points will be awardedbased on the final distance of egg from reactor site, the state of the egg, and location of egg relative to the reactor site.
    no tethers/winches
    maximum cost: $50
so while i will not be helping, my curiosity has been piqued. how would you, o' learned bonnevilleclub members, build this vehicle?

you have my assurance no ideas given in here will be transmitted to her, as that would be unfair for the rest of the class.
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Old 09-02-2007, 07:55 PM   #2
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Can you soft boil your egg ?
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Old 09-02-2007, 07:58 PM   #3
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Put a paddle wheel (maybe with little buckets on it) at the bottom of a drain tube. And put cable on the axle that will limit travel and prevent the vehicle from overshooting by wrapping up on the axle.
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Wikoff
Put a paddle wheel (maybe with little buckets on it) at the bottom of a drain tube. And put cable on the axle that will limit travel and prevent the vehicle from overshooting by wrapping up on the axle.
that was my thought, for the most part. although the cable on the axle to limit the distance travelled is new to me. but i wonder, would that cound as a tether/winch?

also, if the water cannot be taken with you (the example calls it a 'water tower"0, how do you go about storing the energy for use when your car is moving, without using a rubber band or something of a similar nature? if thats what he means by 'tether/winch', anyway.

and i assume soft-boiling is disallowed as well.
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:09 PM   #5
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When it said you can't leave part of the vehicle behind, I thought that meant the bucket of water had to come with you.

Does the egg need to be lowered into the structure?
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:14 PM   #6
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i would presume it has to be lowered in. i havent gotten that far in my mental designs yet, as my mind balks at the idea of taking on both tasks (moving the egg and moving the car) at the same time.

my thoughts so far, assuming rubber-bands are allowed.
  • case a (the water-tower is stationary):
    use a paddle-wheel to turn a rubber band attached to the back axle. when the band has reached its limit, the car will overcome some force which was holding it in place (maybe some wheel impediment) and rocket forward. the egg is secured. another rubber band of a differing "k" has been selected and is attached to the front axle. when the front rubber band is pulling counter-clockwise with the same force as the back rubber band, the car will come to a smooth halt. this would require precise measurement. but if im an engineering student at OU with a group helpin on this, i shouldnt balk at that, right?
  • case b (the water is part of the vehicle):
    i assume that if the water is on the vehicle, its considered part of the vehicle. as such, it wouldnt do to leave the water trailing behind. that necessitates a reservior of some sort under the body of the car, to hold the water at its lowest height. other than that, there is no need for a rubber band on the front tire, as you can simply time how long you want the water to drip for, and arrange the water reservior so only that much water is accessible for draining. it will then presumably some to a rolling stop near the measured distance.

so what am i way off on, what have i over-complicated, or what alternate methods would work just fine too?
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwakamud
Quote:
Originally Posted by J Wikoff
Put a paddle wheel (maybe with little buckets on it) at the bottom of a drain tube. And put cable on the axle that will limit travel and prevent the vehicle from overshooting by wrapping up on the axle.
that was my thought, for the most part. although the cable on the axle to limit the distance travelled is new to me. but i wonder, would that cound as a tether/winch?

also, if the water cannot be taken with you (the example calls it a 'water tower"0, how do you go about storing the energy for use when your car is moving, without using a rubber band or something of a similar nature? if thats what he means by 'tether/winch', anyway.

and i assume soft-boiling is disallowed as well.
Well the rules state Hard boiled... Not Soft boiled... lol
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:23 PM   #8
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Those projects are fun.
When I was in school ours was much more straightforward.

Balsa wood structure capable of carrying the most load.

Another was determining damage of a manual gearbox with disassembly by recording the harmonic frequencies using spectral analysis. It was new technology 30 years ago but very common now.

Now it'* Mechatronics using a blend of mechanical and electrical technology via sensors and robotic controls.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:18 PM   #9
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The touble with trying to make it come to a gliding stop is that the best way to get that done is lots of test runs, and overcoming unknown friction coefficients in all the moving parts can become quite inconsistant. Rubber bands would likely cause oscillation, it would aver shoot, then come back, etc.

If you go with the cable/string wrapping the axle, when it comes to the end, it can trigger/release a mechanism that will lower the egg.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:19 PM   #10
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I don't see anything in the rules listed that states the vehicle can't lose it'* water as it goes along...

I also don't see anything prohibiting air power...

So how about capping the bucket, pumping the head space with compressed air, and shooting the water stream out the bottom (or side) across a paddlewheel connected to the driveaxle (perhaps by wheels and a belt)? It'd be just like those water rocket toys

I also like the idea stated earlier about using a winding cable around one axle to limit distance traveled.
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