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Engineering Apple Chunking Contest

The apple doesn’t fall far from …. the trebuchet?

The Elizabethtown College track is usually home to sports like, well, track. However, on a picture-perfect 80-degree, blue sky day in April, students from Dr. Sara Atwood’s Intro to Engineering II class (EGR 110) competed in an apple-chucking contest. The “Apple Chunkin’” project, Atwood says, was inspired by the annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ competition held in Delaware.

“The idea is to launch an apple as far as possible within given design constraints, such as the maximum size of the device and a budget,” she said.  “(The project) involves the design process, CAD modeling, mathematical modeling of the basic governing physics, and construction in our fabrication shop.”

Atwood explains the course comprises mostly first-year students who intend to concentrate in one of Elizabethtown’s ABET-accredited engineering programs of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering and sustainable design. The students split into nine small groups and spent much of the semester designing and building either a catapult or trebuchet.

The culmination of the project was a class period of friendly competition between classmates on the track infield; other students and faculty and staff members looked on as green and red apples soared through the air, putting the students’ engineering talents to the test. Atwood adds that students also create a final report and presentation about the project, as well as present a poster at this year’s Scholarship and Creative Arts Day.

Check out photos from the class project on the Elizabethtown Facebook page.

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