Adolescents got excited about engineering and technology at the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) Fluid Power Challenge this week. The Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) at the University of Minnesota (UMN) and Georgia Institute of Technology hosted a competition on January 26th and 27th, preceded by a workshop hosted in December, 2014. The workshop educated middle-schoolers in hydraulics and pneumatics, hinge joints and levers, and gave them hands-on experience to build functioning machines. The students invented their own unique techniques for picking up objects and were given time in the classroom to prepare for the challenge.
About forty groups of four 8th graders competed in the challenge to build fluid powered apparatuses capable of picking up objects an advancing them upward in a series of staggered platforms. Award winners are in the group photo. John Metcalf Jr. High School 4, FPC Team 20 won the portfolio award; John Metcalf Jr. High School 2, FPC Team 02 won the teamwork award; Ashby Public Schools, FPC Team 09 won the award for the best design; and North Branch 3, FPC Team 18 were the overall champions for the competition.
Below are pictures of students with their apparatuses taken at the UMN challenge.Click on image for larger view.
The NFPA provides the challenge to middle school students to spark timely interest in learning more about engineering, automation, hydraulics, and technology. The challenge should prompt students to choose math and science classes in high school and increase the amount of students that choose an engineering or technological career.
UMN acknowledges the event sponsors FORCE America, Eaton Corporation, International Fluid Power Society, National Fluid Power Association and the University of Minnesota's Mechanical Engineering and College of Science and Engineering.