By Davina Fisher / For the Daily Press
Posted May 15, 2017 at 3:24 PM
ADELANTO — Student engineering teams watched off camera as water exploded from their 3-D printed, sphere-shaped containers. Yelps of excitement and disappointment filled the small trailer packed with students, engineers and a film crew. Apple Valley, Hesperia and Sultana high school engineering teams were put to the task of creating a container that would be injected with water that could withstand up to 500 pounds of pressure per square inch for 10 seconds at the lowest weight possible.
Exquadrum, a commercial and defense aerospace contractor, hosted the challenge as a PBS “Curiosity Quest Problem Solvers” crew filmed the pressure testing of the 3-D printed containers.
“Testing the containers allows us to understand how close our mathematical models are to the design,” Exquadrum President Eric Schmidt said. “This challenge is an introduction to space applications like satellites, pressure vessels— engineering applications that go into space.
”This challenge is part of a statewide initiative that links industries with community college faculty and develops pathways with high schools.Lisa Kiplinger-Kennedy, Deputy Sector Navigator, Desert/IE for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, said grant funding is used to put events like this on.
“We wanted to do something in the High Desert so students can get some real world experience,” Kiplinger-Kennedy said.
Chayanne Oronu, a student at Hesperia High School, said the challenge required him to use his critical thinking skills.
“I like how it put my mental faculties to good use,” said Oronu, whose team’s model successfully withstood the pressure.
The teams used programs like AutoDesk to model the container and created them with 3-D printers located at their schools.
“The beauty of engineering is coming up with something you never thought of before,” Schmidt said.
“I loved seeing how the students came in confident; they thought they had it in the bag,” said “Curiosity Quest” host Joel Greene.
“By mid-day, they were second-guessing themselves. There’s nothing better than challenging students and watching them rise to the challenge. That’s what ‘Curiosity Quest’ does,” Greene said.
Sultana High School student Nick Olson said that “trying to shape the arc of the sphere” was the biggest challenge. He said he was planning on pursuing a career in engineering.
“STEM is talked about often but without tying it back to application and developing passion we miss the ability to give students something they can build excitement for,” Schmidt said. “This challenge is about getting kids to think about where they’re going to be when they graduate.”
The show is scheduled to air in August. For more information about “Curiosity Quest Problem Solvers,” visit www.curiosityquest.org/cq-problem-solvers.