University of Rochester

EVENT: Students Race Hovercrafts for Engineering Week

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: Noon, February 19, Wilson Commons at the University of Rochester

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public

February 19, 2003

Students will "drag race" seven hovercraft they designed and built for National Engineering Week. The hovercraft that traverses a 25-foot track the fastest will win. The race is a way for engineering students to put their knowledge of designing and manufacturing under a deadline to the test.

Some hovercraft designs that will race today include one incorporating two leaf blowers-one for lift and one for propulsion. Another is fully radio-controlled to keep it inside the four-foot-wide racetrack. Other designs steer with multiple fan motors or with wings like an aircraft. The "drag strip" is complete with countdown lights at the starting line.

The engineering class, Mechanical Design 205, is set up like a company, with students asked to create specific devices that meet specific criteria in just a few weeks. The teams have had only three and a half weeks to design and produce the hovercraft for today's races.

Engineering events during the week are sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Biomedical Engineering Society, Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Optical Society of America, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, and Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society.