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Student designers make it easier to take out the trash

on Friday,November 20,2009 22:11

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To reflect the country''s growing emphasis on green living and sustainability, the University of Alabama has created the Mechanical Engineering Recycled Design competition in which industrial design students and engineers team up to create green machines to help the average American citizen sort their trash.

The event, the latest in a string of annual design competitions sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, tasked students with creating a machine capable of sorting plastic and glass bottles, aluminum and steel cans from miscellaneous garbage with the push of a button.

Students are required to design, build and operate prototypes of their designs within a set of contest- imposed limitations on size and volume, with judges grading on presentation, function and technique.

"These types of projects give students background in project management, design and creativity," UA mechanical engineering professor Clark Midkiff tells the Tuscaloosa News. "They make something and get the chance to see it in action. They may look thrown together but there''s a lot of work put into them."

Several of the designs will go on to compete in the regional ASME competition held at the University of Miami this coming March.

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