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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Engineering Week. News from Utah's Top Engineering School


Hello Troops,
It's Engineering Week nationwide. Engineering students from coast to coast are celebrating the only way engineering students can - creatively.

Julie Anna is a volunteer at the Space Center and an engineering student at USU in Logan. I asked Julie to send regular updates for The Troubadour, realizing many of you may choose engineering as your career choice, and might like a glimpse into the world of an engineering student. Please take a moment to read and appreciate the field of engineering. Engineering is an expanding field that needs bright students like you.

Thanks Julie for taking the time to keep our readers updated on USU's activities.

Mr. W.

Report on Engineering Week. Utah State University

By
~Julie of the North

This is Julie of the North, special on site reporter for the Troubadour, reporting live from Utah State University. Today marks the opening day of Engineering Week, and it has been fabulous so far. Free breakfast consisting of muffins, bananas and milk was provided for all the brave souls willing to venture up to the third floor of the Engineering Building.

Throughout the day, massive amounts of ferrous fluid were found in the engineering atrium for all the engineers to experiment with, examine, and play with. Ferrous fluid is liquid that is magnetic. When it is introduced to a magnetic field the density of the liquid changes. The surface of the ferrous fluid provides an almost frictionless surface for magnets, so it is possible to sling magnets across a table incredibly fast. When I squirted ferrous fluid onto a magnet it formed spikes and interesting patterns. It is also possible to gather the ferrous fluid together and form a sort of gel with it due to the magnetic properties. When I touched these gel masses, they felt like gummy candies. The one bad thing about ferrous liquids is that they stain really badly, so there are many engineers wandering through the halls with brown spots on their hands and arms. I feel like I got turned into a Dalmatian.

The next stop for the day was going to my engineering class. I am taking Thermodynamics and we started learning about what happens when a gas or liquid is pushed through a chamber with inlets and outlets, like a nozzle or a turbine. Although classes aren’t always as much fun as some of the more social activities of an engineer, they teach us the building blocks in order to do what we do best, create and imagine. My classes remind me that engineering is a way of life, not just something fun every now and then. After class, I was treated to free Aggie ice cream, once again provided by the College of Engineering, and I got my favorite flavor, Aggie Blue Mint! For all of you down in Utah County who have never had Aggie Blue Mint, it is worth the trip to Logan just to eat it.

The day continued with club competitions. Today the competitions were Paper Tower sponsored by ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) and the Edible Car sponsored by ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). My roommate and I participated in both of them. The rules for the Paper Tower are that you get two Statesmans (the on-campus newspaper) and a yard of tape and you get to build for 10 minutes. There are prizes for the tallest tower and the most aesthetically pleasing. We made a pyramid shaped tower, but we ran out of paper before we could complete the pyramid, so our tower didn’t really support itself. Later, there were some engineers on the floor who were analyzing the structure of our tower, and they decided that if we had more paper, then it would have been an awesome structure.

We were going to make our car out of rice crispies, but we didn’t make it to the store, so we made it out of materials provided by ASME. We made the body of our car out of a carrot. We also carved axels out of carrots, but they were incredibly flimsy and started bending so we switched to pasta noodles instead. We used cookies for the wheels, life savers for supports, and gummy strawberries for the wheel caps. Our car completed the race in 3 seconds (which is somewhere between 3rd and 4th place), but we were most excited that our car actually survived the race to the finish line! Another cool feature about our carrot car, lovingly named Han Solo II (Han Solo I was made during last year’s engineering week, and didn’t survive out of the freezer), is that it is equally good upside down as it is right side up.

Tonight will be the first episode of nerds vs. zombies, an epic battle taking place inside the engineering buildings on campus. I will be sure to let you know all about it.

Happy Engineering Week! Make sure that you all do something nerdy to celebrate!

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