Feb. 13, 2004

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Contact: Jill Hummels, School of Engineering, (785) 864-2934.

Annual KU Engineering Expo grows into 2-day event Feb. 27-28

LAWRENCE -- Engineering Expo, an annual event at the University of Kansas School of Engineering, is doubling the amount of fun by expanding to two days.

The free public event will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 28.

During Expo, KU engineering students demonstrate the excitement to be found in engineering and showcase some of their innovative research and design projects. Hundreds of visitors -- including elementary, junior high and high school students from throughout the region -- are expected at this event, which presents some of the biggest and best "toys" engineers have a hand in creating. There will be dozens of hands-on and interactive displays for Expo visitors to enjoy.

This year's theme is "Engineering the Future." Engineering Student Council and other engineering student groups at KU have begun planning the annual transformation process of Learned and Eaton halls, where most of the Expo activities take place.

The Expo keynote address by Scott Smith, who earned a master's degree in civil engineering at KU in 1981, will be at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 27 in the Lied Center. Smith is president of the Central Division of HNTB Cos. in Kansas City, Mo. He is responsible for oversight of transportation planning, highway and bridge design, and geotechnical and environmental engineering services provided in the Central Division's 11-state region. Smith has more than 26 years of industry experience and has led a variety of transportation planning and engineering projects and has extensive experience managing highway, toll road, Intelligent Transportation Systems and corridor study projects. Smith is a valued member of the KU School of Engineering advisory board, of which he is chairman.

At 10:30 a.m. Feb. 27 Expo's focus moves to Eaton and Learned halls, where there will be plenty of scientific diversion and amusement. Among the dozens of activities and displays that have been at recent Expos are:

 • kinematic suit to track the motion of the human body
 • make your own concrete
 • wind tunnel demonstrations
 • heat transfer pancake feed
 • rocket design
 • concrete canoe
 • flight simulator
 • space shuttle simulator
 • racecar simulator
 • formula-style competition racecars
 • acoustics and lighting displays, including voice and sound modulation
 • chemistry show
 • TV and radio communications displays
 • robotics

Displays close for the day at 3 p.m. However, KU engineering students will be back at their posts from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 28.

Design contests for visitors, another mainstay of Expo, begin at 11 a.m. Friday. This year's contests include:

Balsa-Wood Flier: design and build a rubber-band-powered, balsa-wood aircraft that can carry a payload of pennies.

Chemical Car: design a car propelled by chemical reaction.

Construct-a-Car: design and build the fastest "car" powered by only a nine-volt battery.

Duct Tape Challenge: use duct tape to suspend your friend on a wall for the longest amount of time.

Egg Drop: use provided supplies to build a structure that enables an egg to survive a lengthy drop.

Future of Rides: create a working model of a roller coaster thrill ride.

Paper Airplane: create a paper airplane that can hit a specified target.

Pasta Bridge Contest: design and build a bridge that can withstand a load using only dry pasta and white glue.

Computer Programming Contest

Rube Goldberg Machine Contest: this year's goal is to build a device to launch a team-made rocket along a controlled path.

School of the Future: design the ideal building for learning and teaching. Tower of Power: use wooden ice cream sticks and rubber bands to build a tower that can support a ream of copier paper.

Many of the contests require advance planning and registration; however, all visitors are welcome to watch the creative and amazing efforts of the competitors that sometimes produce unexpected results. In addition, several impromptu competitions will take place at locations throughout the KU engineering building complex on both days.

Rules of the design contests, as well as detailed information about Engineering Expo 2004, can be found at www.engr.ku.edu/kuesc/. Teachers planning field trips also can use the site to register for design contests, navigate KU parking and download maps of KU.

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