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Aerospace Inspires Winning Yacht Design

SailingThe United States won the 33rd America’s Cup with a design that got a boost from aeronautical engineering. The wing sail of BMW Oracle Racing’s BOR 90 is essentially an oversized airplane wing. At 190 feet tall, it’s the largest sail ever used on a boat.

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raft bugIn this activity, students in grades 6 to 8 learn about the engineering design process and the physical principles of buoyancy by working together to build a boat out of straws and plastic wrap that can hold 25 pennies for at least 10 seconds before sinking.

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Lesson: Construct a Buoyant Scuba Diver

Scuba SketchScuba diving is an excellent hobby for underwater naturalists. In this lesson, students in grades 6-8 learn about the concepts of buoyancy and how organisms float, sink, or hover in water as they construct a neutrally buoyant “scuba diver.”

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Competition: Trash Design Challenge, San Jose, CA. From Sept. 25, 2010

test rigTech Challenge 2011, sponsored by The Tech Museum, in San Jose, CA, this is an annual team design challenge for youth in grades 5 through 12 that introduces and reinforces the scientific process with a hands-on project geared to solve a real-world problem. This year’s challenge has students devise ways to rid the oceans of trash. Information Clinics begin Sept. 25, 2010, through Feb. 2011.

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Feature: Pooling Their Talents

Teacher Bill AndrakeA simulated shipwreck tested students from four Boston-area schools, who, through the MIT Sea Grant/Sea Perch Program, built remotely operated underwater vehicles to check for leaks of hazardous cargo and salvage the wreck.

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Competition: Human-powered Submarine Race

ISR-10 ArchimedePlans are already underway for the 20011 International Submarine Race, to be held next summer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock test tank facility in Bethesda, Maryland. The race tests the creative skills of young engineering students from schools and colleges throughout the world, as teams compete in one- and two-person “wet” submarines submerged along a 100-meter measured course.

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Lesson: Ballast Systems in Submarines

Submarine With Water and Air Gushing from Ballast TanksThis lesson helps students understand how a submarine controls its buoyancy through the use of ballasts. Students construct a model ballast system, and then learn to control its vent valves to make it submerge and surface.

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Feature: Preparing for Rising Sea Levels

If all burning of fossil fuels were to cease tomorrow, the build-up of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere is still severe enough that in 2100, we are still looking at a world at least several degrees warmer than during the pre-industrial era. That warming brings with it certain hazards – droughts, the spread of infectious diseases, the extinction of species. One hazard in particular will require an engineering response: the rise of sea levels.

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Feature: Catch the Wave

Catching a WaveThe ocean’s awesome power is never more apparent when the surf’s up or a coastal storm is brewing. But did you know that engineers are busily seeking ways to harness that might as a means for producing alternative sources of energy? Here is an overview of three different projects, compiled from recent news items in ASEE’s Prism magazine.

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