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Freshmen Switch on the Sun, Get Games Started

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Freshmen Switch on the Sun, Get Games Started

Oct. 29, 2013
Fun with a serious purpose: Solar Oven Throw Down showcases freshman creativity and mathematical prowess.

They were not required to serve the crowd a gourmet meal, just cook a single bun. And even though some of the solar ovens could rapidly reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit in the hot Arizona sun, heat was not necessarily the determining factor in this competition.

UA 2013 Solar Oven Throw Down

The real challenge at the University of Arizona’s Solar Oven Throw Down was in applying engineering concepts to accurately calculate performance. It was fun with a serious purpose as the Solar Oven Throw Down wrapped up a College of Engineering course of study on thermodynamics and systems modeling and design.

About 500 engineering students, faculty and industry representatives turned out for the mass solar oven cookoff on the UA Mall Oct. 22, 2013. Engineering freshmen tested solar ovens they designed and built themselves, showcasing their creativity and mathematical prowess in a bid to most accurately calculate the expected temperature of their thermodynamic designs.

In ENGR 102’s solar oven project, freshmen spend time in the classroom poring over spreadsheets and thermodynamics equations. Then they work in groups of three to six to design the best possible solar oven within timeline and budget specifications and using simple materials -- Mylar, cardboard, aluminum foil, black paper, newspaper, spray paint, tape, and a thermometer. They predict the temperature their ovens will reach based on a “performance index” mathematical model and at the Solar Oven Throw Down test their ovens to determine the accuracy of their predictions.

Team “We Showed Up” took both awards associated with performance index -- highest performance index and highest average performance index.

For the second year, the event was sponsored by Delaware-based technology company W.L. Gore and Associates, a perpetual on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for.” A half dozen or more Gore employees were on hand to judge and help choose the team that displayed the best teamwork as well as share their professional knowledge with the nation’s next generation of engineers.

Gore’s  “All-in-the-Same-Boat” award went to tying teams “Carry on My Wayward Sun” and “Oozma Kappa.”

Highest PI and Highest Average PI Winner
We Showed Up
•    Alexandra Coote
•    Austin Hoepfner
•    Ricardo Jimenez
•    Steven Miller
•    Hailey Ogren
•    Maria Walshe

Carry on My Wayward Sun
•    Savannah Gaston
•    Michael Hailwood
•    Grace Ritchey
Oozma Kappa
•    Alexandra Beresford
•    Jacob Garan
•    David Greif
•    Christopher Oka   
•    Jamie Vail