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June 12: Carnegie Mellon Students To Compete This Week in International Solar Boat Design Competition


Chriss Swaney                           

Carnegie Mellon Students To Compete This Week
In International Solar Boat Design Competition

PITTSBURGH-A multidisciplinary team of Carnegie Mellon University students is ready to make a big splash with its hand-crafted, solar-powered boat, "Nessie," June 13-17 at the 14th World Championships of Solar/Electric Boating in Fayetteville, Ark.                

"We see it as a chance to highlight student abilities and raise awareness about alternative energy sources," said Mark Rockwell, the student who assembled a group of more than 10 engineering, business and design students to enter the "Solar Splash."
Solar SplashSolar Splash, the intercollegiate regatta run by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), promotes energy conservation while giving students hands-on engineering experience in a competitive setting.
Rockwell, a mechanical engineering student and team leader from Farmington Hills, Mich., said the three primary race events in the competition include sprint, slalom and endurance. Teams also must complete a comprehensive technical report one month prior to the competition.                

Carnegie Mellon's sleek, fiberglass hull boat will compete against 18 other teams, including midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy and teams from Columbia University and the University of South Carolina. 
"It has been fun working with this team because they know what to do, and they know how to get it done," said Susan Finger, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon.
The students raised more than $6,000 from corporate and individual sponsors, developed relationships with local boat experts, and did trial runs on Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park earlier this year to prove the boat seaworthy.
"This is the second year we've competed, and we hope to establish a solid foundation for future Solar Splash teams at Carnegie Mellon," Rockwell said.


(Pictured above is Carnegie Mellon's entry in the 2006 Solar Splash.)