Northview High School industrial and engineering technology classes combined their efforts to compete in the IMSTEA (Indiana Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Alliance) Super Mileage Challenge.
The objective of the competition is to provide Indiana high school students with a challenging activity combining the theoretical aspects of mathematics and science with a practical experience in design, fabrication and testing of an actual vehicle.
In an effort to increase public awareness of fuel economy, students will be challenged to build a one-man, fuel efficient vehicle powered by a single cylinder, four stroke cycle engine. Vehicles will run a specified course with the vehicle obtaining the highest miles-per-gallon rating winning the competition.
"Last year, we got 391 miles per gallon with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Our goal this year is to go fast and coast! Hopefully, we'll get 500 mpg this time around," Jim Latta, industrial technology teacher, said. "Our students came in fourth place in the state in the unlimited class and 12th in the stock class. Unlimited means students are allowed to make modifications, whereas the stock cars must be built to exact specifications with no alterations allowed."
Design and construction of the cars is intended to be a student project performed by students under the guidance and supervision of adult faculty members. Latta assists with the construction aspect of the transportation process and Dan Miller, engineering technology teacher, oversees the design component.
"A complete design proposal of the cars from start to finish must be submitted to ISMTEA be Jan. 18. Our computer design lab use Autosketch, Auto CAD and Inventor software for the proposals so we can submit a three-dimensional view of the cars," Miller said.
Parts and components fabricated by non-students are kept to a minimum. When outside facilities must be used, instructors ask those facilities to allow maximum student participation or request they provide explanations of the operations involved and allow students to observe the process.
PDF, Inc., in Brazil, laser cut the rear axle brackets and Lawson Welding, also in Brazil, donated metal for the frames.
Latta said students last year spent so much time on the bodies that they didn't have much time to work on the frames. This year will be different. He was shopping in Sears and saw a car top carrier designed to hold skis. He thought the design and light-weight construction of the carriers would make the perfect bodies for both classes of cars.
Vehicles up to two years old may be used for the unlimited class and may be used in stock class events providing significant modifications are made from year to year. This year, both cars will be totally new.
Local sponsors provide funding for the super mileage cars.
"So far, we have enough money to build and finish the two cars. But we don't have any money to add the clear plastic bubbles that fit over the driver's head to make the cars more aerodynamic. And we don't have money for either of the entry fees or to put sponsor decals on the cars," said Alex Montgomery, president of the technology club.
This is the fifth year for Northview to compete and last year was the first time NHS competed in both classes. The Super Mileage Challenge at Indianapolis Raceway Park will be April 28 with about 50 cars.
Students must apply for the driver's seats. Montgomery said a committee selects the students based on grades, attendance and performance on an obstacle course.