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Saturday, April 11, 2009

ASME Holds Medieval Launch Competition

ASME Holds Medieval Launch Competition

On Wednesday, April 8, the Stevens chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) held its second annual Medieval Launch Competition.

The challenge set forth this year was a spin on last year's theme: in two hours, each of the seven teams must build a working trebuchet capable of launching an object as far as possible in three tries. Unlike last year's lacrosse balls, this year the ammunition was raw eggs, and if the egg broke on landing, only half the distance would be recorded.

Despite doubts that none of the eggs would survive, enough eggs remained intact for the team of Nick Catania, Kim Dikovics, Tim Sigler and Chris Coppola to win the first prize, $100 to be split amongst the team, with a distance with a 41'.

Scott Snyder, Lou Nemeth, Nick Morffi, Tim Ryan, Colin Anderson and Tom Paddack took the $50 second prize with a distance of 31'5", while Jeffrey Pass, Rob Zuilkowski and Alex Petreski's shot of 19' 7" was enough to narrowly win the $25 third prize.

Most of the trebuchet designs were the traditional counterweighted launcher. The advantage of such a design is that it has always worked, but at the risk of launching the egg high and having it break on impact.

A pair of torsion bows were entered, but neither performed as well as the trebuchets. The team of Dr. M.G. Prasad, Dr. Frank Fisher, Dr. Soumitra Basu, Dr. David Cappelleri and Dr. Richard Berkof had a unique design that emulated a side-arm baseball pitcher, but the design only achieved distances of 4' 10.5" and 6'.

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