Purdue Calumet Engineering Innovation Teams (I-TEAMS)
Partners to Industry
Purdue Calumet’s Engineering Innovation Teams (I-Teams) address engineering problems through hands-on design projects and competitions. The I-Teams work on solutions to real-world challenges faced by companies, organizations, even astronauts and space mission engineers. Today’s student designers could be the engineers and robotic experts who will shape the future of your industry.
Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge
The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) annually holds regional and national student design competitions. Top teams from each regional qualifier then advance to compete in the national event. These ASCE events provide students the opportunity to work hands-on to separately design and construct a concrete canoe and steel bridge over the course of a year.
These separate teams are senior design projects for civil engineering students. The students learn how to handle design constraints, time and resource management, teamwork, and leadership. The concrete canoe competition culminates in on-the-water races using their canoe against other universities, while the steel bridge competition culminates in a construction race and load testing that is compared to other competition universities.
Purdue University Calumet has competed three times in the concrete canoe competition, and twice in the steel bridge competition. In 2013 the Purdue University Calumet steel bridge team was ranked first in the subcategory for stiffness at the regional qualifier.
Electric Vehicle Grand Prix (EVGP)
The Electric Vehicle Grand Prix (EVGP) competition is a collegiate event consisting of two annual races. The first is held at Purdue West Lafayette in April, and the second is held on the infield of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May. This race pits members of teams from universities from as far away as England against each other using electric-powered go-karts. The winner is determined based on a combination of position at the end of the race, efficiency, design, and outreach to the community.
Researching, designing, constructing, testing, and racing an electric go-kart allows students to work in a multidisciplinary team environment and apply knowledge gained in their engineering courses. For most electrical engineering students, this is their first real experience with motors and controllers that use over 200 Amperes, 72 dc Volts and up to 8 Kilowatts continuous power, 14 Kilowatts peak power. Most mechanical engineering students have never designed a vehicle that travels up to 50 miles per hour or endures such rough racing conditions. Electrical and computer engineering students also develop and refine telemetry systems that remotely monitor the condition of the vehicles and their subsystems for both of Purdue Calumet’s go-karts.
Engineering Summer Program
The Purdue University Calumet Engineering program has been ranked among the best undergraduate programs in the nation by “U.S. News and World Report” for universities and colleges offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. We pride ourselves on offering the same quality engineering education in the Engineering Summer Program. Students will learn the fundamentals of science and engineering and the inner working of gadgets and devices. They also will immerse themselves in hands-on activities including design, construction and testing of engineering principles.
The Great Moonbuggy Race
For the past 20 years, NASA’s Marshall Space and Flight Center has hosted “The Great Moonbuggy Race” in April at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The competition is designed to introduce students to the real world of applied science and engineering. It involves designing and constructing a “Moonbuggy” that can be folded into a 4 foot cube, carried by the drivers 20 feet while folded, and raced on a 0.7 mile course containing simulated lunar obstacles. The rules require two drivers – one male and the other female. The winner is the team that can assemble its “Moonbuggy” from the unfolded position and complete the course in the lowest time.
Since 2009, Purdue Calumet has raced two “Moonbuggies,” the maximum allowed. Purdue Calumet “Moonbuggies” have placed 5th, 3rd, and 5th in an international field. Teams from Canada, Mexico, India, Russia and the United Arab Emirates have competed, along with teams from the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In 2011, Purdue Calumet won “The Most Improved Award.” In 2012 PUC had two top ten finishes (3rd and 10th), and won “The Featherweight Award” for lightest buggy completing the course in under 10 minutes. In 2013, Purdue Calumet again won “The Featherweight Award.”
Human Powered Vehicle Challenge
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) sponsors an annual event entitled Human Power Vehicle Challenge (HPVC). The objective is “to provide an opportunity for engineering students to demonstrate application of sound engineering principles toward the development of fast, efficient, sustainable, and practical human-powered vehicles.” The competition consists of three events: design event, spring or drag race, and endurance race. Scores from each event are totaled and the winner is the team with the highest overall score. Purdue University Calumet entered this event in 2012 as a rookie team and placed 14/32 in the East competition. Purdue Calumet was also the second highest ranked rookie team (2/10).
Semester/Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE)
The Semester or Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) Program at Purdue Calumet provides students an opportunity to work closely with faculty on research projects during the academic year and/or summer. SURE supports active research participation of undergraduate students in ongoing research projects. These projects help to prepare students for graduate school and the workforce. Participation in research projects prepares students to think independently, collaborate with other students, gain hands-on experience, and apply theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom to solve practical engineering problems. The students will be exposed to professional development, technical, and academic seminars. SURE links undergraduate students with faculty and graduate student mentors, and introduces them to advanced research tools at the frontier of engineering.
Robotic Football Competition
The Robotic Football competition is a collegiate event consisting of a football league, in which the players are robots. Robots are constructed for quarterback, receiver, tailback, kicker and lineman positions. Notre Dame and Northern Ohio compete each year in a Robotic Football game and Notre Dame has asked Purdue University Calumet to join them in this football league. The Competition generates lot of excitement on the Notre Dame campus. More than 700 people were in the audience at the last year’s competition.
The robustness of the students’ designs and manufacturing skills are tested, as designs must be able to withstand significant impacts. The robots do not function autonomously-they are remote-controlled by students. Constraints are placed on the overall weight and size of each robot.
The initial main objectives include following the design process, building machines “from scratch” to meet specifications, and, very importantly, having to build an electromechanical system that works, and that can withstand use in a “harsh environment”. Students not only build the mechanics, but also do the wiring, interfacing, and update software to work on their players.