You probably never realized that Mother Nature is actually an engineer. Many different variables affect the disastrous potential of a volcanic eruption. Some of these variables are height, shaft dimensions, amount of material, and slope. Ironically, these are the same variables that engineers encounter in their daily work practices. To emphasize the power of small parameter changes, we have designed the Volcano Contest competition. This is your chance to play Mother Nature and build your own volcano.
Online pre-registration link:
Rules and specifications
- Volcanoes must be built in teams of two or three individuals of any age. It is important for you to learn how to work with your peers because many projects in college and industry are group efforts.
- Your mission is to design a volcano such that the lava will flow the closest to 18 inches from the outer edge of the volcano base. This can be accomplished by varying the volcano height, mountain slope, and the size and shape of the volcano shaft. No other materials may be used to channel the flow of the lava.
- The volcanic eruption should be simulated using no more than one (1) cup of vinegar, one (1) tablespoon of baking soda, and any amount of corn starch. Pre-measured allotments will be provided for you at the competition, so do not bring your own lava materials.
- The volcano must be constructed at home using mostly recyclable materials (see suggested construction materials, below).
Suggested construction materials
- Paper machete (possibly painted)
- Cardboard coated with play-doh
- Starch will slow down the flow, experiment with it.
- The steeper the volcano, the faster the lava will flow.
- In the judging, creativity counts! Be creative and have fun!
Judging will be based on lava flow distance (closest to 18 inches from volcano base), creativity, and appearance (use your imagination).
Prizes will be awarded.
Sponsored by UK Chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association