For high school students At Sussex County Technical School in Sparta NJ, the bar is set high. To challenge their students, the school decided it would be one of the few High Schools to engage in the design and build of a human-powered submarine, then race it in a 22-foot deep, 100 meter long waterway against other submarines in the International Submarine race, a contest for student engineering teams from across the country.
The problem is that they are up against student teams from college level engineering schools all over the country.
“A high school is not supposed to be able to do this!” beamed Chris Land, teacher at the school and supervisor of the team. But a group of his engineering students did just that at the ninth International Submarine Races in Bethesda, MD.
But perhaps the most amazing thing is that they won…
The team was awarded first place in the Innovation category as a result of their unique design which was the first to incorporate both upper and lower body strength into the propulsion system. Furthermore they have won awards in various categories every time they have entered the bi-annual race, since 2003.
But the $62,000 project would not have been possible without the sponsorship of several corporations including CPI which donated the waterproof switches which proved to be critical to the team’s success. The Submarine was dubbed “UmptySquatch 3.2” and took over a year to build. School and race officials say that a project like this encourages students to consider engineering as a profession, which is always in the best interest of America’s technological leadership and ingenuity. Almost every senior who has been a part of the Sussex Tech submarine team over the last few years has gone on to study engineering in college.
“The International Submarine Race is a fantastic event that motivates young people to explore the field of engineering,” says Mac Stuhler, vice president of CPI. “Being able to take part in something that helps to develop the engineers of the future means a great deal to us.”
Waterproof switches from CPI, two for the rudder and two for the depth planes, were mounted on the handles that the pilot used to power the sub. The switches had to withstand completely submerged conditions and constant use. If they proved too difficult to use or undependable, a reliable test run would not have been possible. As it turned out, the CPI waterproof switches worked flawlessly.
As a result of corporate sponsors like CPI, the final cost to the school was barely more than $3,000.
The International Submarine Races are sponsored by several regional and national companies and held at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center’s David Taylor Model Basin. The competition is designed to give students real world engineering experience while maintaining the utmost in safety. All pilots are required to be SCUBA certified.
With the availability of corporate sponsors, some competing teams have advantages over others. That is part of the real-world design and engineering experience, since many companies, departments and engineering teams have certain advantages over others, even when pursuing very similar requirements.
About Control Products, Inc.
Control Products, Inc. (https://cpi-nj.com) has been manufacturing a broad line of high quality waterproof and thermal switches since 1946. The company, known for the durability and robustness of its products, specializes in addressing OEM-specific switching and sensor challenges. The company acts as an extension of its customers’ engineering departments. CPI waterproof switches are designed to operate reliably when exposed to water, oil, humidity, sand, dirt, vibration, and shock. A building block system of basic switches, mounting brackets, and actuators provides a broad array of application solutions.
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