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University of Buffalo Hosts Green-Themed Engineering and Science Competition

Posted in Announcements

University of Buffalo's "Seismic Green" venue offers Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness for Minorities (BEAM) program students opportunity to combine engineering and structural design skills and build a "sustainable" (environmentally green) structure capable of supporting a sub-scale wind power turbine and survive a simulated seismic event.

More than seventy Western New York high school students gathered on Saturday, May 15 at the University of Buffalo (UB) School of Engineering to participate in the Buffalo-area Engineering Awareness for Minorities (BEAM) program. "Seismic Green", an environmental green-themed competition/scavenger hunt, gave students the opportunity to prove their engineering and scientific mettle in a brain-teasing race at various venues in the school.

Students, split into 12 teams, followed "Team Seismic" clues and completed various engineering tasks and questions in order to move on to the next venue. "Seismic Green" combined engineering and structural design skills, requiring students to build a "sustainable" (environmentally green) structure capable of supporting a sub-scale wind power turbine and survive a simulated seismic event.

The structures and wind turbines were tested on a mini-shake table that replicated actual seismic events such as Northridge, Kobe, and El Centro earthquakes and a sine-sweep. Student teams were challenged to first locate the Team Seismic-Green Venue (aka the UB-NEES facility), based on written clues. Upon entering the venue, the teams had a total of 30-minutes to answer both factual engineering and engineering trivia questions related to the theme and the engineering task.

Teams were scored on their ability to locate the venue within an allotted amount of time, their answers to the engineering questions and the survivability of their wind power turbine support structure during the simulated seismic event.

BEAM is a cooperative educational enrichment program that prepares inner-city, minority, female and other under-represented students for careers in science, engineering and technology through after-school and summer programs. The program encourages, recruits and retains women and minorities to the engineering professions. The "Seismic Green" venue was developed and organized by UB-NEES Site Operations Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the assistance of UB's Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering undergraduate and graduate students: Juan Aleman, Jose Sanchez, Maikol Del Carpio, Steven Powell, Robert Flemming and Lauren Schifferle. Tom may also be reached at 716.645.3019.