By Steve Frandzel
Stemming the flow: Students identify costly stormwater intrusion in Corvallis sewers systemBy analyzing average daily water flow rates through the Corvallis sewer system and the length of time that pumping stations operated, Mathew Palmer and his Expo project team determined that large volumes of excess water is infiltrating the system through cracks and fissures in underground pipes.

“Whenever it rains a lot, water seeps into the sewer system through these cracks,” explained Palmer, who is graduating with a degree in chemical engineering. “That means the pumping stations have to work longer, and that costs Corvallis money that could be spent on other things.” Continue reading

By Steve Frandzel
Finding the right angle to improve solar panel efficiency

Corbin Moser’s Expo team was tasked by EarthCruiser USA in Bend, Oregon, to increase the efficiency of solar panels mounted on the company’s all-terrain expedition vehicles.

EarthCruiser vehicles are designed to be self-sufficient during long-term travel in remote locations. They rely on solar panels coupled with batteries for power when parked, and are equipped with an onboard water purification system. Continue reading

By Steve Frandzel
A river runs over it: Students propose a ford to alleviate eastern Oregon floodingAfter major rainstorms, Pine Creek outside of Halfway, Oregon, floods surrounding farmland and threatens nearby homesteads and sewage holding lagoons.

Will Dickman and his fellow Expo team members considered several possible solutions to mitigate the flooding and presented their recommendations to the Oregon Department of Transportation. Continue reading

By Steve Frandzel
Using bat anatomy to improve robot navigationSeeking a way to improve the navigational ability of robots, Colin Comard and his Expo team turned to the animal world — specifically the bat’s remarkable ability to maneuver quickly and precisely using sonar.

“Bats have specialized anatomy and biology that allow them to navigate with echolocation,” said Comard, who is getting a degree in electrical and computer engineering. “We’re trying to use that evolutionary advantage for our own robots to help them navigate better.” Continue reading

By Steve Frandzel
Cell phone photographs radiation, warns of dangerSophia Uchiyama and her Expo team have designed a small, inexpensive radiation detector which will enable anyone with a smart phone to “photograph” radiation and determine in a flash if they’re being exposed to high levels of radiation.

“We wanted something that’s easy to understand for people who are not trained in nuclear science, and which literally presents a picture of the radiation around them,” said Uchiyama, who will graduate next year with a degree in radiation physics after finishing coursework for a math minor.

Continue reading