An ASU team earned third place in a recent national student competition at the Materials Science & Technology industry conference in Columbus, Ohio.
The Sun Devil Dome team – materials science and engineering seniors Ryan Treadwell and Michael Moorehead, and freshman Yegor Zenkov – won the prize in the ASM Geodesic Dome Design Competition, also known as the Domesday competition.
The Sun Devil Dome team’s original casting of its geodesic dome for the “Domesday” competition.
Twelve teams from around the country earned their way into the event, including those from Virginia Tech, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and the University of Connecticut.
Students were required to design and build small curved and latticed structures out of materials of their choice. The structures were then stress-tested in a device that could apply a force of more than six tons.
The domes were evaluated on the maximum load they could withstand, maximum load to weight ratio, maximum load to cost ratio, and aesthetics. Each team was also evaluated on a presentation made to judges.
The Sun Devil team’s dome was made entirely of recycled materials from aluminum cans and camera tripods, and alloyed with copper, then melted down in a homemade furnace constructed by Treadwell, Moorehead and some fellow ASU engineering students.
“When tested, our dome reached the maximum weight limit of the testing machine, of over 12,000 pounds, without noticeably yielding. The addition of copper to our aluminum casting played an important role in our dome’s strength,” Moorehead said.
The final polished Sun Devil Dome team’s geodesic dome. it withstood a six-ton stress test.
“The judges liked the fact that everything involved in the casting was student-made, all of the materials were recycled, and the dome never broke,” he said.
“This was the second year of the national contest, and the second year that an ASU team placed among the top three teams. That is a great demonstration of the strong design skills that our materials engineering students are developing,” said Professor James Adams, chair of the materials science and engineering program.
Adams, the faculty adviser for both ASU teams, had all freshmen materials students in FSE 100 classes compete in a local geodesic dome contest. Freshmen Sunny Situ, Andy Situ, Nathan Fink and Jash Joshi – team name, the Metal Benders – won that contest.
“The dome they designed withstood a load of more than 5,000 pounds, an impressive achievement for an all-freshman team,” Adam said.
Several ASU teams presented their domes for review by fellow materials students. The structures made by the Metal Benders and the Sun Devil Dome teams were judged to have the best chance of being leading contenders at the Materials Science & Technology conference competition.
The competition was sponsored by ASM International, the world’s largest association of metals-centric materials scientists and engineers.