CAPE Undergraduates Excel at Water Feature Design

10 July 2017

Students in their first professional year had six weeks to design, build and demonstrate a water feature using skills gained in their studies.

  • CAPE Water Feature Project 2017

    CAPE First Professional Year Water Feature Project 2017

Tuesday 30th May marked the 8th annual Water Feature Demonstration Day in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering.  Students in their first professional year had six weeks to design, build and demonstrate a water feature that incorporated a pump and at least one table tennis ball.  They used their skills gained in ENCH293 Fluid Mechanics 1 to calculate design parameters such as flow rates and pressure drop to ensure their finished product was successful.

13 teams demonstrated their projects on a sunny afternoon outside the new Chemical and Process Engineering Wing, to fellow students and CAPE staff.  The projects ranged from the aesthetically pleasing and creative flower pot design, where four jets of water propelled table tennis balls upwards to varying heights in front of a painting of a flower bed, to more dynamic designs such as the aptly named “Water Cycle”, where the front wheel of a bicycle was powered by a jet of water, driving the back wheel which was connected by a chain.  It could even change gears!

The winning team, Bernoulli’s Angels, showed an impressive understanding of Bernoulli’s equation and buoyancy principles.  Their design used table tennis balls to pull the plug out of a bucket as it slowly filled with water, and then spouted water from the drain to another bucket.  The judges were impressed by the incorporation of the table tennis ball as integral to the function of the final design, polished construction, and innovative implementation of fluid mechanics principles.

The day was not without its setbacks however – Donkey Pong neglected to calculate the drag force of their water feature, causing it to come crashing down in a sudden gust of wind, breaking their pipe network.  After some savvy on-the-spot maintenance work using a year’s supply of duct tape, their project was back up and running.  The demonstration was worth the wait; the design simulated Donkey Kong, with sound effects completing the illusion.

Overall, each group impressed the judges with its innovation, engineering skills, and humour.  This class has certainly raised the bar for future ENCH293 classes.

Professor Shusheng Pang and Associate Professor Alex Yip

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