Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The need for (airflow) speed

So, as we mentioned last post, Ramzi presented a group of 6th and 7th grade students with the problem of cooling a giant racing engine with a half-size radiator. (Why does it have a half-size radiator? you ask. I asked Ramzi the same question. To accommodate the turbo!) The point was for the kids to test out and develop a better cooling airflow system under the hood by applying basic principles of aerodynamics.

Students were given precise instructions on how to proceed:

Step 1: Plan out your under-car duct with cardboard, designing it to capture as much free air as possible.

Step 2: Use your cardboard pieces as a stencil for the metal pieces, tracing each piece with your sharpie. (I think this is how NASA develops prototypes for space shuttles. Or did, before they stopped making them.)

Step 3: Test out your cardboard design under the car.

Step 4: Cut with snips, bend with pliers, drill 1/8" holes (for rivets), and rivet the metal model to match your cardboard design.

Step 5: Test fit your metal prototype under the car.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Let's take a look at one of slides included in the presentation.... (Warning: nerd alert)

Exhibit 1:

No, wait, that nerd alert warning was premature. Here's the real deal.

Exhibit #2

Safety first. (See? I'm not just hyper about bike helmets.) Anyway, here's the fun stuff: a clip of the first group of students testing their cardboard design... on the race car.

Next up, the middle school girls try out their design....

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