December 5, 2011

Cyclone sweeps the series

With the power of rubber bands, Walt Mayfield (hands up) and Khari Douglas (foreground), both first-year engineering students from Texas, won the annual Mechanical Engineering freshman design competition on Nov. 30 with their entry, the Texas Cyclone. For the project, part of Freshman Experiences in Mechanical Engineering, students could use up to six rubber bands and two mousetraps to propel a device of their own design and construction up a six-foot cardboard pole—and have it remain there. “The hardest part was getting the friction right,” Mayfield says. Difficulties aside, Mayfield’s confidence in the duo’s design was made apparent when he pulled two glasses and a chilled bottle of sparkling cider from his backpack upon the announcement of the team’s win.