Friday, March 21, 2014

Standing Strong During Finals Week

Teams of undergraduate structural engineering students enrolled in SE 120, a course focused on engineering graphics and computer-aided structural design, tested their windmill towers during finals week at UC San Diego. Thanks to rapid manufacturing technology -- 3D printing -- the students designed, manufactured and tested windmill blade designs and then redesigned and tested them again over many weeks. One team reportedly designed 18 different blades before settling on a design that satisfied their energy output goals!

Professor Falko Kuester said rapid manufacturing -- the plastic blades are printed in class in just 90 minutes -- allows students to experiment with structural design in ways that just weren't possible before. As part of their final exam, the students' towers were tested for deflection, energy output in a wind tunnel, and placed on a miniature shake table to see how well they held up to earthquakes.

1 comment: