Sustainable engineering skills were put to the test when students designed, built and raced their own hydrogen fuel cell-powered model cars in a competition event at RMIT.
The race was the culmination of a new sustainable engineering subject within the School of Vocational Engineering, Health and Science, where students in the final semester of the Associate Degree in Engineering Technology designed, manufactured and tested toy-sized radio controlled vehicles.
The project was a joint venture with Singapore’s Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, with assistance from Linda Lung at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Education Programs in Golden, Colorado, and Daniel Mehay and Kamil from the Chicago office.
Coordinators introduced the new subject with the aim of encouraging students to embrace hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
During the design phase, students used advanced computer-aided design (CAD), Catia and SolidWorks surface design software with expert guidance and assistance provided throughout the semester by guest lectures from leading CAD software suppliers, MEMCO and InterCAD.
Manufacturing of the models was an RMIT-wide collaborative effort, with car components and vacuum forming moulds supported by 3D printing in the University’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct, the School's own Computer Numeric Control machine shop, and vacuum forming in the School of Architecture and Design.
A "concept to prototype testing" process, simulated to industry standards, enabled students to gain valuable real-world experience.
The competition focused on the endurance of the cars over four hours on a newly designed carpet racing track on the A'Beckett Urban Square’s basketball court at RMIT's City campus.
Senior educator Jeremiah Naidu and teacher Pattabhiraman Malavall, conducted the racing event, while program manager Rahul Gupta, together with teachers and technical staff including Manoj Pendharkar and Yadana Wai, were in attendance to provide extra support.
Students from the Aerospace stream of the Associate Degree gained similar real-world aircraft design experience while undertaking a Design Build and Fly project, where they conducted flight testing on three different types of radio control aircraft prototypes.
This project provides valuable experience in the rapidly growing field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
The UAV design project covered many engineering areas and offers students valuable hands-on experience in fields such as aerospace design, structural analysis, aerodynamics, advanced manufacturing technology (3D printing), leadership and project management.
Mission performances were set for each of the three prototypes, with flight testings conducted in the netball courts of RMIT’s Bundoora campus.
Story: Ash Hibbert