URI engineering students to launch first
water rocket contest
KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 30, 1999 -- The University of Rhode Island student
section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) will hold
its first Water Rocket Contest on the Kingston Campus Quadrangle, Tuesday
May 4 at 1:30 p.m.
Engineering students will be charging two-liter soda bottles with water
and then sending them skyward. The rockets will come down gently with the
aid of parachutes. Since soda bottles have few aerodynamic features, the
engineering students will be developing their own designs to enhance flight.
"We will be ending the school year with a blast, joked Angelo Di
Biasio, chairman of the URI ASME chapter, a senior mechanical engineering
student and resident of Johnston.
Di Biasio and Curtis Carlsten, vice chairman of the URI chapter, attended
an ASME Regional Conference last fall in Portsmouth, R.I. and attended a
water rocket contest there. They thought such an event at URI would encourage
friendly competition among the engineering departments and prompt teamwork
among the students.
"This is just applying basic physics that everyone in engineering
already knows, said Carlsten, a junior mechanical engineering student from
East Providence. It,s not like building a complex computer or robot. There
are going to be some great designs.
"I have come upon some groups talking quietly about their designs
and others have sworn me to secrecy about their projects, he said.
The URI ASME Student Section has done all the work organizing the event,
lining up sponsors and obtaining funding for prizes. First prize is $50
cash, second is $35 and third is $25.
The event is being sponsored by Brown & Sharpe, Toray Plastics, Texas
Instruments, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and URI,s Department
of Mechanical Engineering. Pepsi is supplying 60 bottles for the competition.
Di Biasio and Carlsten will be conducting all launches in a 60-foot-diameter
area that will be cordoned off from the public.
Each two-member team or single contestant will design a two-liter soda
bottle rocket to achieve maximum time aloft. The winning rocket will have
the greatest recorded time, from launch until touchdown. The two students
say that two-liter bottles, without design changes and additions, will tumble
around, and fail to achieve high altitudes. With some fins and a nose cone,
amazing altitudes can be reached.
"Contestants want to minimize drag going up and maximize drag coming
down, said Carlsten. "They need the best-designed parachute to catch
the most amount of air.
For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116