University of Tulsa mechanical engineering students currently are building a vertical ball conveyor to display at the Tulsa Children’s Museum. The device will be featured in a new energy exhibit that includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) children’s activities. Plastic balls in pits and conveyance systems will simulate the production and flow of oil and natural gas. The team’s design is based on a full-scale Archimedes Screw mechanism that will lift the plastic balls 20 feet into the air before they roll into various activities of the exhibit.
“The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this is definitely working in a group with other people on this kind of scale,” said team leader Brian Hall. “Several people working on different parts of the project and then coming together definitely helps in the grand scheme of things.”
Team members include Brian Hall (team captain), Abdulhamid Al-Jaber, Sultan Al-Nabhani, Nick Criser, Joel Kapp, Tyler Morrison, Drake Norman, Alex Price and Tommy Weissert.
“My plan is to go into patent law and luckily you have to be an engineer to become a patent lawyer,” team member Drake Norman said. “What’s really helpful to me is being able to work with a design and people at the same time because a patent lawyer has to be able to do that.”
The team plans to deliver the completed project to the Tulsa Children’s Museum by the end of April.