NSWC Crane Challenges Students with First Undergraduate Design Contest

Story Number: NNS110513-34Release Date: 5/13/2011 4:16:00 PM
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From Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Public Affairs

CRANE, Ind. (NNS) -- College students representing five universities from across the Midwest tackled a real-world engineering problem at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane's first Undergraduate Design Contest, April 19.

In early January, students were presented with the problem: the camera mounted to a widely-used naval weapon system blanks-out during firing. Students were tasked to engineer a solution that isolates the camera and minimizes vibrations, while allowing it to be continuously monitored during firing.

"This contest perfectly mimics real-life engineering situations that our engineers experience every day at Crane," said NSWC Crane Commanding Officer, Capt. Charles LaSota. "This is an exciting opportunity for students to take modeling and simulation to the next level while discovering the future possibilities that exist for them at Crane."

Students analyzed data, reviewed engineering drawings, and witnessed first-hand the effects of the weapon's influence on the weapon system during live fire. Teams communicated with NSWC Crane Weapon System Lead Engineer Jim Ernest throughout the months leading up to the competition and also had the opportunity to travel to NSWC Crane for one day to take their own measurements. Additionally, NSWC Crane loaned the camera to each team for one week for in-depth analysis.

Each team presented its unique solution to the judges, which was followed by a live-fire demonstration and testing of solutions.

"We were presented with a problem that was very different than anything we have done in school," said Michael Kretschmer, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) team captain. "This contest was not only a challenging learning experience but also a great opportunity to do work that will make a difference."

Because all teams' solutions proved successful, judges relied heavily on the engineering analysis performed by each team as well as the solutions' viability and performance during live-fire to help determine the winner.

"I am very intrigued by all the solutions presented today and pleased with the overall results. Overall, IPFW presented the best in each category," said NSWC Crane Weapon System Lead Engineer Jim Ernest. "They did a very thorough engineering analysis, dampened the key vibration issues in the camera and performed well during the live-fire testing."

Slated to be an annual event, NSWC Crane hopes the competition next year brings the same amount of innovation and dedication from students.

Serving as a leader in technology-driven innovation and championing collaborative opportunities through university and school partnerships, NSWC Crane offers academia a critical mass of technical resources for educating our next generation workforce.

For more information regarding the Undergraduate Design Contest, contact Brian Thomas at brian.m.thomas1.ctr@navy.mil or 812-854-8530.

As a Naval Sea Systems Command activity, NSWC Crane provides total lifecycle leadership in Special Missions, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare/Information Operations.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.

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