A team of four undergrads from BYU’s Mechanical Engineering Department took 3rd place in the annual American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) International Student Design Competition.
The competition was held at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 30-31, 2010. The team represented ASMEenergy, a division of ASME that deals specifically with environmental problems. Team members were Josh Bennett, a freshman from Alberta, Canada; Bryan Braun, a sophomore from Spokane Valley, Washington; Shanna-Mae Hardy, a sophomore from Post Falls, Idaho; and Matt Lyon, a sophomore from American Fork, Utah. Mechanical Engineering professor Ken Chase was their faculty advisor.
The theme of this year’s competition was “Earth Saver,” and the challenge was to build an autonomous waste sorter. The students designed a device that could differentiate and sort different recyclable materials such as plastic, glass, aluminum and steel. They worked on the project from the beginning of fall semester all the way through the end of March.
“I thought their design was ingenious!” said Ken Chase, faculty advisor to the team. “It had an elaborate digital control system, designed by Josh Bennett, which was "error free." It had sensors and laser beams to detect and discriminate each product with great repeatability. It was also a good looking product, light-weight, mechanically clever... clearly a winner. I was proud of our students.”
“One great thing about our team is that we are all underclassmen,” commented Hardy, who is also the President of BYU’s chapter of ASMEenergy. “We learned so much from each other, and from the faculty that assisted us, and simply from the experience of going through the design process. There are a limited number of design projects for undergraduates outside of Capstone, so we would really like to celebrate our success in this competition that included universities from nine states and all of Mexico!”