Tag Archives: engineering competitions

WERC Environmental Design Contest

Charlotte Kapral

Charlotte Kapral,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 26 January 2020

Recently, I’ve been working on a design competition called the WERC Environmental Design Contest. This year, the Chemical Engineering department is sending 2 team (18 students total) to the competition at New Mexico State University.

My team’s task is to remove fluoride from calcium-rich mine waters. We’ve been researching and running tests since the beginning of last semester to figure out how to accomplish our task using a unique and effective technique. So far, we’ve needed the help of the Civil Engineering department and the Chemistry department. Currently, we are brainstorming on how to bring our design from a batch system to a continuous system.

It’s been a great opportunity to design something outside of the typical classroom setting. The sponsor of the competition creates tasked based on real issues faced in industry. I’ve gotten to use what I have learned so far in college and apply it to a real world application.

I’ve been using a lot of what I learned in my chemistry courses about solutions and solubility, and I will soon get to use my knowledge about designing reactors. It’s been very challenging, but it’s hands on opportunities like this that will help me become a better engineering and create for good.

Preparing for the WERC Environmental Design Competition

Melissa Kuchta

Melissa Kuchta,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 23 January 2020

I can’t believe I am beginning my final semester as an undergrad student. The past four years have flown by unbelievably fast. I am excited for all of the things spring semester will bring! I am involved with a lot of different things this semester, including the WERC Environmental Design Competition.

Myself and a team of 9 other students have been working meticulously for a few months now to design a process that will effectively remove fluoride from a wastewater stream. Our current method is based on the use of Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) steel slag—a waste product of many mining operations—to remove the fluoride.

Our results have been promising, and we are moving into the final stages of our design. The competition this year is April 5-8 and is held in Las Cruces, New Mexico at New Mexico State University.

I know I can speak for everyone when I say we are super excited to see how our Ohio University team places this year. With only a few months left before our final design must be submitted, it’s safe to say this semester will be quite a busy one. I am excited to see how my last semester at Ohio University unfolds!

2020 WERC Environmental Design Contest

Charlotte Kapral

Charlotte Kapral,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 1 December 2019

For my senior year, I am participating in the WERC Environmental Design Contest. The contest tasks students with finding unique solutions to real-world environmental problems that industry faces. This year, the chemical engineering department has two teams of students working on different tasks. My team’s task is to reduce the fluoride concentration in a calcium-rich mine water stream.

So far, the team has done in-depth research on the different technologies used to remove fluoride from water, identified an out-of-the-box technique that is cheap and effective, and conducted some tests.

It was difficult to decide on how to accomplish this task. There are many research papers other there, but none of them quite fit the conditions we need to run our unit at. Once we all agreed on the best technique, we had to obtain the materials and choose how we wanted to run our tests.

Currently, we are doing tests on pH, temperature, and time. Even though we have an advisor guiding us through the process, us students ultimately get to decide on all of the parameters (as long as they still meet the guidelines set by the WERC commission).

It is a difficult process, but we are making progress. Last year, the team that Ohio University sent won (shown below), so we have a lot to live up to!

WERC 2019

Rest, Reflection, and Robotics

Alvin Chaney

Alvin Chaney,
Junior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 18 March 2019

This Spring Break was a great time to rest …. And reflect. Although the time went by very quickly, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

The highlight of my break was on Saturday. For the past nine years, on a Saturday in March, my parents and I (below) have volunteered at the “Where in the World is Dr. Dunn” Robotics Competition.


The event is hosted by the National Technical Association (NTA) and the University of Cincinnati (UC) – College of Engineering and Applied Science.


Nearly eleven years ago, I was a middle schooler participating in the National Technical Association’s Math Camp hosted at UC and directed by Dr. Cheryl Dunn. Dr. Dunn asked the camp participants to share ideas for activities. I loved (and still love) Legos™ and had discovered Robotics by using the Mindstorms™ sets. I shared my idea for a Robotics competition by writing a proposal (with the help of my parents to the NTA and Dr. Dunn.)


Dr. Dunn and the NTA implemented the idea which initially focused on elementary and middle school students. The first competition was in 2010 and participation has increased over the years and it now includes high school students.


Since 2010, the leadership committee has rewarded my contribution by allowing me to present the A.P. Chaney Perseverance Award. This award is given to the team or individual who has found a way to overcome their challenges. This also motivates me to continue to persevere and to do my best.


Below are the 2019 A.P. Chaney Perseverance Award Winners.


Overall, this was a chance to rest, reflect and enjoy Robotics. I had an opportunity to “create for good” and this was a wonderful way to spend my Spring Break!

Human-Powered Vehicle Team

Tanner Wick

Tanner Wick,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 27 January 2019

Over winter break I helped finish the design of this year’s human powered vehicle for the upcoming 2019 ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. Teams work throughout the year to design, manufacture, and test a vehicle that will compete in speed and endurance events alongside dozens of other teams from around the country.

This project is a true test of the student’s knowledge and understanding of the engineering design process. Each year, the team decides on product design specifications for what characteristics (weight, top speed, drag coefficient, etc.) the vehicle will have. This year’s bike was designed as a three-wheeled tadpole made from an aluminum frame and carbon fiber fairing. The frame includes a rollover protection system that prevents the rider from being injured in case the vehicle flips over. The fairing is designed to allow for minimal air resistance on the vehicle. This results in higher speeds and greater rider comfort.

After finishing the design over break, all materials for manufacturing were ordered. This meant the team could start building as soon as the semester started. The team is pushing a rigorous timeline so that there is ample time for testing and training before the competition in April. After placing 3rd in the previous three competitions, the team is excited and determined to place higher this year.