A team of UK Mechanical Engineering seniors placed third out of 25 entries in the ASME Student Regional Design Competition for District C, held at Purdue on March 31. Team members were Noah Kiefer, Rameen Hadizadeh, Jonathan Liesinger, and Nicholas Gibson. The contest required the students to design and build a distillation device to purify water using only human power. The scoring included several items about the design (size, weight, etc), but the primary contributor was the amount of pure water that could be produced during a one-hour period. Most of the entries relied on an electric generator, connected to a pedal arrangement, with the output going to an electrical heater which would vaporize the water. The condensed water would then be pure. One could envision the use of such a system to obtain drinking water after a storm or other event had destroyed the source of potable water.
The UK team generated about 100 mL during the one hour period, compared to the winning team which produced about 120 mL. (It should be noted that the humans may have generated more sweat than this during the one hour of concentrated pedaling!) Two other teams also competed for UK in this contest. Our thanks to all three teams for the professional way they represented the university in the competition, and our congratulations to the team which placed third.