Moraine Park Technical College hosted the third annual Endurance Challenge 2007 at its Fond du Lac campus on Wednesday, May 9. The event is sponsored by the College’s Engine Research and Development Technician program.
High school students were challenged to modify a 7-horsepower engine, donated by Briggs and Stratton, to get the best fuel efficiency and run the longest, then bring it to the event to compete with the others. Each team was given a pre-measured amount of gas to burn in their engine then timed on how long each engine ran, and each engine was given a safety inspection before the competition got under way. Participating high schools included Beaver Dam, Campbellsport, Plymouth, Princeton, Sheboygan North and Sheboygan South. All except Campbellsport and Princeton were participating for the first time.
The teams were assisted by Moraine Park faculty, staff and students as well as employees of Mercury Marine, John Deere and Kohler Co. The teams shared the challenge of making successful modifications within a specific timeframe, coming up with ideas and figuring out what would work or not. They enjoyed competing, seeing the other engines and coming away with new ideas and an increased understanding of engines.
The winning engine ran for 33 minutes, 28 seconds, and was modified by Sheboygan South students Adam Lorenz and Jarrod Brown. “I learned a lot about balancing flywheels,” said Lorenz. (A flywheel stores energy and is used to even out fluctuations in speed as an engine runs.) The senior also enjoyed seeing the other teams’ engines and, of course, seeing his team’s engine take first place. The team advisor was Joe Janicek, a technology educator at Sheboygan South.
The Sheboygan North High School team of Kelton Fick, Ryan Mergen, Matt Rommel and Shane Williams came in second with a time of 32 minutes and 23 seconds. “We learned ways to keep an engine going, and to buy an adjustable carburetor,” said Williams.
“I learned a lot about trial and error,” said Fick.
Team advisor Alan Rekowski of Sheboygan North said one benefit of the Endurance Challenge for the students is that “they are able to verify their hypothesis and learn about other modifications they may not have thought up. I hope the students will be able to replicate and apply their knowledge to their HMV (High Mileage Vehicle) engines.”
The Campbellsport team of David Herring, Matt Loehr, Matt Mielke and Tim Woodley got their engine to run long enough to come in third at 23:23.
Plymouth High School team advisor James Azzalino enjoyed seeing former students now enrolled at Moraine Park. The event was also a chance for his current students to get a sense of what it’s like to learn in a college environment. The Plymouth team of Cory Bauer, Thomas Dowty, Kyle Singer and Brant Theiler got their engine to run for 17 minutes, 10 seconds, placing fourth.
The Princeton team enjoyed the challenge of modifying their engine to be as efficient as possible, said team advisor Scott Simacek of Princeton High School. Their efforts kept it running for 17:07. Team member Cory Prachl felt that counterweights were needed. Other team members were Jake Braun and Ty Weir.
The Beaver Dam High School engine chugged along for 13 minutes and 30 seconds before a piston broke. “Although our motor blew up, we learned a lot about engines,” said Jim Fitzgerald, father of one of the team members. Student team members were James Borck, Riley Fitzgerald, Jordan Matuseski, Jeremy Quandt and Phil Wuesthoff.
“Use two piston rings,” said both Fitzgerald and Matuseski when asked what they learned.
Each member of the winning team will receive a $250 Moraine Park scholarship if they enroll at the College. Other prizes included wrench sets, hats, shirts, CD cases and FM radios. Prizes were donated by Kohler Co., Mercury Marine, Briggs & Stratton, John Deere and Wacker Corporation, all of which have been strong supporters of Moraine Park’s Engine Research and Development program.
Fall 2007 enrollment for the Engine Research and Development Technician program is currently under way at Moraine Park. For more information about the program call a Moraine Park outreach specialist at 1-800-472-4554.