URI engineering students have a blast with first water rocket contest

KINGSTON, R.I. — June 1, 1999 — Some rockets barely got off the ground, some tipped, spun and crashed to the ground. Others flew beautifully, but then plummeted to the Quadrangle when their parachutes didn’t open. But then there were the rockets that flew high and gently touched down after their parachutes deployed. They wound up being the winning entries in the first URI Water Rocket Contest held in May by the University of Rhode Island Student Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Held on the Kingston Campus, the event was a mixture of fun, science and engineering. It was organized by Angelo Di Biasio, of Johnston, president of the URI ASME student chapter and graduating mechanical engineering student, and junior mechanical engineering student, Curtis Carlsten, vice chairman of the URI chapter. Carlsten is an East Providence resident. The rockets, made out of plastic soda bottles, were filled with water, launched under pressure, and were supposed to descend softly when their parachutes deployed. David Ruggieri of West Kingston, a junior mechanical engineering student, had the honor of being the first one on the launch pad with his test rocket. “This was a good competition. It helped us shift our focus from our classroom studies for a little while.” Susan Rhodes, treasurer of the student ASME chapter, of Middletown, watched as her rocket flew successfully, but failed to deploy its parachute. “I was very please with the flight; at least it got off the launch pad.” Ronald Barraza, a mechanical engineering student from Providence, was the first to get his parachute to come out. By far the highest flying rocket of the day and the first-place finisher belonged to a team of civil engineering students, which included: Joe Moniz, of Warwick; Eric Baxter of West Warwick; Scot Deledda, of North Stonington, Conn., Laura Landry of Lincoln, Adrian Johnson of Noank, Conn., Rajan Ray of Prospect, Conn. Finishing second were graduate students Jove Farley, of North Kingstown, and graduate student Zachary Nardi, of Smithfield. Mike Smith, of Highland, N.Y., a junior electrical engineering student, was third. The event was sponsored by Brown & Sharpe, Toray Plastics, Texas Instruments, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and URI’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Pepsi supplied 60 bottles for the competition. -xxx- For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116