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Student engineering competitions

The college's SAE Mini-Baja Team in Manhattan Kansas

The college's SAE Mini-Baja Team raced to victory at the April competition in Manhattan Kansas. (50K JPG)



The University of Wisconsin-Madison's SAE Mini-Baja Team outperformed 104 teams to take the winner's circle at the SAE Mini-Baja Competition in Manhattan, Kansas in April. The team scored 922.036 points putting them 12 points ahead of second-place finishers Brigham-Young University and more than 100 points ahead of third-place winners Utah State University. Mini-Baja teams are charged with building a single passenger, four-wheel-drive, off-road vehicle around a 10-horse-power Briggs and Stratton engine. The vehicles are judged on acceleration, braking, maneuverability and endurance. In addition to a sales presentation, the teams must present cost and design reports. The UW-Madison team also fielded a second car that placed 33rd.

The concrete canoe Eclipse and her crew

The concrete canoe Eclipse and her crew will compete at the national competition this summer. (61K JPG)



Civil and environmental engineering students had a successful trip to the American Society of Civil Engineers regional competition at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign last weekend in April. The concrete canoe team won first place in their competition. Their winning canoe weighed less than 100 pounds, a first in UW-Madison history. The UW-Madison women's team stole the show with a first-place finish in their division and a race time that placed them above all of the men's teams. Both the women's and men's teams will compete in the national competition in San Diego this summer. In the steel bridge competition, the UW-Madison team placed second, securing a position for the students in the upcoming nationals at Clemson University.

The BORG team

Members of the BORG team will test their robot aboard the Vomit Comet. (30K JPG)



Two teams of undergraduate students with engineering ties have won a competitive proposal process to conduct experiments on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration-sponsored Vomit Comet this summer. The Vomit Comet is a converted KC-135 refueling plane refitted to conduct experiments at reduced gravity. A team of four freshmen led by Steve Steiner will test his patented process for making low density, high-strength aerogels to determine if reduced gravity helps generate a transparent product. (Aerogels made under the effects of gravity have a blue tint.) BORG, or Body Operating in Reduced Gravity, is another project whose team will get flight time in July. Coordinated by junior Nick Kho, the team will test their soccer ball-sized robot in microgravity. The robot is designed to assist in repairs on the International Space Station.

From left, Robert Agrawal, Steve Steiner, Nick Bohne and Michael

From left, Robert Agrawal, Steve Steiner, Nick Bohne and Michael Johannes stand in front of the autoclave Steiner designed and built in his basement. The device is used to make aerogels. (40K J