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09-04-1998

Egg-ceptional Clarkson University Students Hope Packaging Will Yield $15,000 Award

What do you get when you combine a raw egg and 64 cubic feet of water in a container and drop it from 20 feet? Hopefully, nothing if you're the team from Clarkson University, one of eight college teams competing for the $15,000 award from Energy Challenge '98, taking place Sept. 12 at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Ga.

The competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST), Hercules Inc. and the pulp and paper industry, requires college teams to design and construct a package that will protect a raw egg when dropped up to 20 feet onto a solid surface.

To receive the $15,000 award, the winning team's package, which contains 64 cubic inches of water and a raw egg, must not leak and must remain intact after a series of drops, starting at five feet and going up to 20 feet.  Packages must be made with chemical wood pulp, secondary wood cellulose and paper chemicals only.

Clarkson University Professor Daryush Aidun, the project's adviser, is very optimistic about the Clarkson team's chance of winning the Energy Challenge since, he says, the team is made up of three bright and enthusiastic students: Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering major Daniel R. McBride of Carthage and Chemical Engineering majors Raymond J. "RJ" Connolly, also of Carthage, and Craig D. Burkhard of Watertown. Aidun says that the knowledge from their respective engineering fields is key to this interdisciplinary project. Aidun also praised Project Coordinator Tina Yuille, Clarkson director of SPEED and Engineering Studies, for her role in helping the team.

The purpose of Energy Challenge '98 is to foster education and awareness of manufacturing design efficiency, packaging technology, recycling, waste minimization and pulp and paper industrial processes.

The competition is associated with the Department of Energy's Agenda 2020 -- a program to help the pulp and paper industry reach the vision of more energy efficient manufacturing processes in the year 2020. The DOE's Energy Challenge for this coming year will be to design and build a kayak made of pulp/paper products.

With the help of a $2,000 project startup grant from the Department of Energy, the competitors were tasked with preparing a design proposal and project reports; raise funds; and design and construct an efficient package in which to protect the egg.

Participating students are learning design efficiency, the structural mechanics of packaging products, waste minimization and the industrial processes of the pulp and paper industry.  In addition to how the teams' eggs survive the series of drops, the final scores will also be based upon the proposal and reports submitted to contest officials beginning last September.

Other schools competing in Energy Challenge '98 include: Georgia Institute of Technology, Miami University in Ohio, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, University of Colorado at Denver, University of Maine and Western Michigan University.

Additional information about the competition can be found on the Institute of Paper Science and Technology Web site at www.ipst.edu.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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