As part of this month’s Sustainability Challenge (a series of campus-wide activities related to IU’s Climate Action Plan), the Physics Club hosted a “Renewable Energy Competition” on Tuesday, October 24th. Although billed as a competition, this was more of a fun, participation-based activity to get people together and think about renewable-energy technology — harnessing wind energy, in particular.
With no advanced preparation, participants were asked to design and construct a novel turbine apparatus, with the goal of maximizing rotation speed while being driven by a constant wind source, using only materials provided by the club — all had to be built using a CD or DVD optical disc as a chassis.
Once ready, models were tested by snapping them on to a motor apparatus that had been extracted from a non-working CD player and connected to a multimeter, with VAC being used as a proxy for rotation speed. (This idea was inspired by a popular Science Olympiad event.)
First-year physics major Akira Clark won overall for designing and building the fastest-turning turbine, Ryleigh Jebson produced an especially intricate design, Zach Groshans and Phillip Derrickson demonstrated the most collaborative effort and Kerrie Jean, Emilee Edmonds and Michael Wujcik each made remarkable progress by taking an iterative approach to continuously refine their designs.