Matt Carroll (right), Kaitlyn Haynes and Ryley Jones

Armstrong Engineering Students Win First Place in Poster Contest

(May 4, 2011) Matt Carroll, Kaitlyn Haynes and Ryley Jones, Armstrong undergraduate students of engineering studies, took first place in the student poster competition at the American Society of Engineering Education's (ASEE) Southeastern Section Conference held in April at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.

The ASEE's student poster competition allows engineering students to practice their visual, written and oral communication skills in a professional conference environment, where they share their research and project work with students and faculty from other institutions.

Carroll, Haynes and Jones competed as a group with Priya Goeser, Armstrong associate professor of engineering studies, serving as their faculty advisor. They competed in the freshman/sophomore engineering technology design category. Their project, titled “Design of an Environmentally Responsible Off-Road Bicycle using SolidWorks,” sought to address the growing market demand for environmentally friendly products. Their idea was to modify both the look and the component materials of the common bicycle.

“Our final material selections were bamboo for the frame, pedals, rims and spokes; recycled rubber for the tires; and aluminum everywhere that these other two could not be implemented,” Ryley Jones said.

The group also sought to seamlessly incorporate their bicycle into nature.

“A big part of our design was that we wanted our bicycle not to impose visually when out on a mountain biking trail or elsewhere outdoors, but rather to look as if it belongs in nature,” Jones said. “We wanted to minimize the amount of attention demanded by the bicycle in order to create a more organic, natural experience for the rider.”

He added that the “specific design of the bicycle was pretty much all out of Matt's head and sketched on paper. The nice thing about SolidWorks, the [software] program we used to model our bike in 3D, is that it isn't too difficult to turn some sketches on paper into a three dimensional object on the screen.”

In addition to the poster, the team was judged on a one-page extended abstract and on their communication during poster presentations.

“We learned that it certainly is feasible to meet the demands of consumers desiring environmentally responsible products that perform just as well if not better than the next leading choice,” Jones said.

“Hopefully projects like ours will inspire manufacturers to make the jump from using environmentally harmful materials and poor production practices to sustainable, renewable materials that have a minimal impact on the long-term health of our environment.”