This is the Team Emel Ball Drop page!
Project Design and Initial Ideas
In our initial brain-storming session, we tossed around a number of interesting ideas. To the left are some of the sketches from the initial brainstorming session.
Ideas that we considered the most included a zipline, a propeller powered plane, and a catapult. Ultimately, we decided on a glider which would be powered using the rubber band as a slingshot. A few different wing types were considered, and we finally settled on the design in the bottom two pictures because it provided the largest possible surface area, as well as sturdiness.
Final Design and Completed Not-a-Car
Below is a picture of the completed design.
Things we wanted to include in our final design were: 1) Maximum surface area, 2) Balance, and 3) Strong initial velocity.
First, we maximized the surface area for the wings with the materials we had. We considered various other wing designs (see design process), but this one was ultimately chosen because it provided the most area for the wings.
Second, we considered different ways of attaching the ball to the plane, but it was difficult to attach the tennis ball without causing a massive imbalance. Ultimately, we cut the tennis ball in half (one half on the front, the other on the back) to equitably distribute its weight. We experimented with placing the back half of the ball in several different positions, and found that the glider was most stable with the weight at the extreme ends.
Third, we used the rubber band to create a slingshot-style launch of the glider. Rather than releasing it from rest, which would have questionable results at best, we decided that any initial forward motion would help maximize our distance.
Results and Conclusions
Our total distance from the base of Hicks was approximately 8'. This is a rough approximation because our distance wasn't actually measured. The person measuring the distance couldn't get to it in the tree, and Mrs. Ruether took it out of the tree before it was measured. Despite these short-comings, 8' seems fairly accurate. At such small distances, we were able to estimate the distance fairly accurately.
We were a bit disappointed that it fell into the tree. It seems that the biggest problem was one that we tried hardest to fix: weight distribution. The glider made a good start, but had a tendency to fall quickly after a short distance. It seems that with the weight distributed on the front and back end, once it tipped a little bit, the weight brought it into a quick dive. If we did it again, one change would be the location of the tennis ball. We should have cut it into many smaller pieces and attached them throughout the body of the plane. That way it wouldn't have just been balanced on the two ends but balanced throughout the whole plane. The increased stability might have increased the distance before it dive-bombed. However, with a middling distance among the groups, we aren't too disappointed.
While some say that the team names were generated at random, others speculate that the name Emel has some hidden meaning or reference. The leading theory is that Emel refers to the Muslim lifestyle magazine, seen in the below image. What relationship this has to Engineering is still unclear, but it is certain to be discovered sometime during the semester.
emel magazine See here for image location
Another possibility is that Emel simply refers to the Mary Lyons (ML) dorm where every member of the team currently lives; however, that theory seems skeptical at best, and there is little evidence to support it. #MLfaLYFE #nerfthug