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Copley High School students win National KidWind turbine contest

5/8/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Copley-Fairlawn City Schools
COPLEY — On April 26, the Copley High School (CHS) Blade Runners, shown above, won the National KidWind turbine competition in Washington, D.C., at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. 

Led by CHS engineering and technology teacher Kirby Harder, students Katie Casida, Chav Maharaj, Peyton Flasco, Ben Evankovich, Thomas Kimmons, Collin Miller and Josh Meyers set a world record for the highest wind turbine output ever recorded at a KidWind Competition, according to school officials. The old world record was 118 joules, and the CHS students raised the bar to 153.4 joules. This is enough energy to charge approximately 20 cell phones simultaneously, according to school officials.

The Blade Runners, assisted by CHS students Chris Dugan and Joe Ozaki, worked for several months on the design, construction, documentation and testing of a small-scale wind turbine. They used their research findings to engineer and design a three-dimensional (3D) model of a small wind turbine for the KidWind competition, using SolidWorks, a 3D modeling software program. The team created several blades from different materials, including plastic blades made on one of the engineering class’ 3D printers and other blades that were sculpted from wood and PVC material.

The students spent hours testing the various blade types and gear ratios, refining their designs for the optimum output. All these parts were original designs and hand fabricated by students using traditional and Computer Numerical Control equipment. The final design led to an environmentally friendly, fully recyclable wind turbine that could be used in many settings, according to school officials. 

Because the competition was held in Washington, the students had to refine their design so the turbine could be completely collapsible, lightweight and fit into a suitcase and then reassembled at the competition. According to school officials, the collapsible and portable wind turbine design could be used in Third World countries to run laptops, cell phones or medical equipment.

The students also raised more than $2,400 to help support their trip. Along with the ComTech class, they filmed, edited and distributed DVDs of various district concerts and events as well as partnered with Chipotle in a fundraiser.

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