Engineering Open House 2012

Uploaded by Illinois1867 on 23.03.2012

Hi. I’m Caroline Pahl at the Engineering Open House, and we’re here to learn some
So this is our Engineering Open House exhibit. This is with the Society of Women Engineers
and the Illinois Fire Service Institute. So we built some dorm imitations, basically.
So the idea is to show the public the difference that a sprinkler can make; and, it’s not
just geared to students. It’s also you know, the University recently spent 20 million dollars
putting sprinklers in all the Residence Halls. And so it’s showing that the University
is keeping us safe and what people can do even in their homes. This is fire safety engineering
and I guess the chemical engineering aspect of it is, “So, what makes materials flammable?”
And it’s the breaking up of the carbon-carbon bonds in the materials. So fires these days
are actually a lot worse than they used to be, because cotton is a more natural material:
it’s not quite as flammable. But a lot of the foams that we use in coach cushions now
are petroleum-based, so they light on fire really quickly. I think people have gotten
a lot out of it. Obviously it’s a lot of fun to watch it burn, but I have also had
a lot of people tell me, “Wow, I didn’t know sprinklers made that big of a difference.”
So there’s definitely a learning element to it.
So we have a whole bunch of things with liquid nitrogen, where we freeze them and we teach,
I guess, the public and kids mostly. I think my favorite is the banana, where we try and
nail a nail into a piece of wood with a banana as a hammer, and it squishes all over the
place. But then we freeze it, and it acts as a hammer. We can actually nail it to the
board. Usually we do grade school assemblies, so we’re up on a stage or in a gymnasium,
and everyone is sitting and watching us. But this is interesting because it’s more interactive,
where people come right up to the table, and they ask questions. You get that personal
science talk and it’s just a lot of fun- I like it.
Alright David, tell us about what we have here…
Alright so we have two rockets and we’re doing rocket races for E-O-H. And basically
there are two rockets that string up between the bridges on the Bardeen Quad and the two
rockets just race each other.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
Well this is about microbrewing. And it’s really interesting that you can make your
own beer at home and it’s very simple. All you have to do is boil grain, and it releases
a lot of sugars and enzymes. Then to add flavor to that we use hops. But then after that we
want to cool it as fast as we can to room temperature. So what we do is we use this
heat exchanger. It’s a very simple thing we bought from Lowe’s. You just stick this
into the boiling pot of water, pour water in and then steam actually comes out. And
we try to bring it to room temperature as quick as possible to prevent enzyme breakdown.
We’re really happy with how we’re able to just make something of our own, and it’s
exciting, and it’s something that we can carry on into our careers after college.
Right now we have a magnetic field coming out of these coils that we’ve got, and we’re
floating aluminum frying pans. And so what’s happening is we’ve got a lot of coils in
here which generate a magnetic field, and it’s kind of like pushing up over here and
pulling down. As well as levitating, it’s actually getting really warm. This thing is
acting like a resistor, and it’s getting hot like your heater is. And so we’re actually
making some rice crispy treats.
This is an example of a Non-Newtonian fluid: it’s Oobleck. It’s a corn-starch mixture.
It’s actually a suspension in water. And if you have a really quick force on it, like
if you punch it, it will go solid, but if you let it flow it will act kind of like water
does or like a goop. There are actually a lot of current-day applications. They’re
working on a ballistic proof vest, so like bullet proof vests for police officers, and
like safety jobs where you’d need to avoid puncturing or avoid impact, because it’s
very good at spreading out force.
What’s been most popular for us today is the lemon batteries. So in a lemon battery,
if you stick a penny-which is coated in copper- in one side of the lemon and a galvanized
nail- which is coated in zinc- in the other side of the lemon, you can produce a voltage
and a current. And we did the calculations, and it takes about 240,000 lemon batteries
to be equivalent to one Duracell AA battery. We’ve been here since 8:30 in the morning
making lemon batteries and we can finally make something happen with it.
Well I’ve learned a lot today at Engineering Open House, and I hope you did too. See you
next time.
(Tesla Coil Concert: Zelda Theme)