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Summer Career Connections at SAVY 2018: Session 4, Day 2 – Engineering Design (Rising 7th)

Posted by on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 in SAVY, Uncategorized.

Today we focused on the “Design” step of the engineering design cycle. This morning we went over some basic fluid dynamics. We started with learning Bernoulli’s Principle (and the incompressible flow equation), and saw how lots of people incorrectly apply it to explain how planes fly. After we debunked the equal transit theory, we learned how planes actually generate lift and how to use that in our design.

The second half of our morning was all about rapid prototyping techniques. We talked about how modern plastic 3D printers work and their strengths and weaknesses. We spent even more time talking about designing for laser cutters since that’s the rapid prototyping technique we’ll be using this week. Ask your students about how Vanderbilt’s laser cutter works and what they need to consider when designing for it.

This afternoon was all about our design project. Students were divided into their engineering teams and designed their first prototype. All the teams have been tasked with building a glider. For each glider, we’ll measure distance flown, time in air, and total mass. Each team has different final size requirements and different material options. Also, each team has been tasked with adding an additional “twist” to their glider. We didn’t finish modeling our designs today, but we’ll finish tomorrow morning so we can test on Wednesday.

We finished our day today learning about the Magnus effect, a cool fluid dynamics phenomenon that describes how air moves around a rotating cylinder or sphere. It’s the reason pitchers can throw curve balls and soccer players can “bend” the ball. We even talked about Flettner airplanes, which uses the Magnus effect to provide lift.

Tomorrow we’ll finish our designs and learn about testing!


Engineering Our Paper Airplanes