Students participate in numerous competitions and use their engineering skills to solve real-world problems. Projects range from an international formula-style racecar competition to environmental design and to creating a steel bridge.
Students in UNM School of Engineering design, build, and test a solar-powered car named Lobo del Sol and then participate in North American Solar Car Race. See the unveiling of the car prior to the 2010 Formula Sun Grand Prix as part of the Indy 500 pre-race celebrations in Indianapolis.
The Solar Car project is an excellent teaching tool, requiring students to apply academic theories learned in the classroom to real life challenges. Students function in an interactive and cross-disciplinary manner, bringing together ideas and applications from electrical engineering, mechanical and design engineering, chemical engineering, and computer engineering to complete the process.
The Solar Car project also focuses attention on environmental and societal issues of power, energy and renewable energy. Economic indicators all point to anticipated growth in fields related to alternative energies, making this experience one that will make students more employable upon graduation. Learn more at the Solar Car website.
In a three-semester class, students in UNM LOBO Motorsports program design and build a race car, then compete against teams from universities all over the world.
7-5-11 - The UNM LOBOMotorSports team placed 8th in design, 9th in autocross, and 12th in marketing at the Formula SAE®, an international competition for open wheel, open cockpit Formula-style race cars held June 15-18, 2011 in Fontana, CA. The competition tests research, design, manufacturing, developing, marketing, management and finances for cars engineered to a fictional customer, the weekend racer.
A student design team from the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department has won a Waste Environment Research Consortium (WERC ) Environmental Design Competition.
Photo (l. to r.): Danielle Rivera, Norma Wells, Shelly Karlin and Toi Carden all worked on a project to remove sulfates from mining water.
The students competed against 31 teams from 21 universities throughout the United States and Canada. Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Department Chair Tim L. Ward teaches the course, and Eric Carnes, a faculty advisor and lecturer assisted them with the project. Geoff Courtin, a research engineer who works with the students estimates they each have more than 100 hours work invested in the projects.
Another UNM design team came in second in their project competition, which involved designing a pretreatment system for desalinizing brackish water in Tularosa. Marta Cooperstein, Cynthia Douthit, Jonathan Paiz, and Anne Helleburst (l to r) all worked on the research, cost analysis, and bench demonstration project.
Courtin says, “It brings together elements they have learned in various classes and helps them use it in a practical way.” As the students put together the projects, they worked with the Mechanical Engineering Department to actually construct some elements of the bench demonstration. They also worked with local attorneys to make sure the projects meet state and federal environmental regulations and with UNM Safety and Risk Services to make sure projects could meet federal OSHA regulations. The students also had to determine what kind of personnel training would be required if the projects were actually built.
The students had to prove their projects would be cost effective, and they had to consider what would happen to the waste products. Since the students are about to graduate, they say this competition gave them a taste of what they will have to do when they are hired by engineering firms.
Courtin says several engineering firms have an eye on the students in the competition. He's already received calls asking for the resumes of the students who are involved.
The UNM team placed second in the steel bridge contest at the Rocky Mountain Regional American Society of Civil Engineers Student Conference at Colorado State University. Three hundred students from 13 schools in five states attended the conference.
Held annually, the National Steel Bridge Competition pits teams of young civil engineering students against each other and the clock, as they design and construct a bridge to span a river valley in a mountainous rural region. The competition brings together everything students learn in the classroom - ranging from design, fabrication and construction to fostering a teamwork environment.
For the Steel Bridge Competition, bridge design teams must meet strict guidelines.
Teams are judged on their design, blueprint and oral presentation, as well as construction speed, lightness, aesthetics, stiffness, construction economy, structural efficiency, and performance.