A team of six mechanical and one civil engineering students built an elaborate wood and steel trebuchet and took it to Bridgeville, Delaware, where they launched a ten pound pumpkin 581 feet. Team Artemis, including mechanical engineering students Trevor Owens, Larry Ardry, Nettie Halcomb, Michael Adams, Chris Thornton, Ed Yates and Stuart Rymer and one Civil Engineering student Jonathan Wooten, placed sixth among 12 competitors in the Adult Trebuchet Class in the World Championship Punkin Chunkin contest.
The students began to plan for the event one year ago. They began the design process last May, worked on it through the summer and finally finished building it 48 hours before they left Chattanooga to participate in the contest. Many are members of the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and none of the punkin chunkers from UTC earned college credits for this ambitious project.
“These motivated students worked completely on their own, and they received $3,500 in local support,” said Dr. Ron Goulet, faculty advisor. Goulet said engineers study to learn the physics and then struggle to apply the physics, and when a project is complete “it doesn’t always work.”
“Team Artemis’ trebuchet looks medieval and simple, but it is actually a very complex machine,” Goulet said.
Concrete discs provided up to 2000 pounds counterweight capacity on this gravity powered structure. The team was allowed three launches, and the best launch required a counterweight of 800 pounds.
“With all the planning and construction and problem solving, Team Artemis has only had time to fire six pumpkins,” Goulet said. “The winning shot in our division at the World Class Championship Punkin Chunkin flew 1,500 feet! I honestly believe Team Artemis is capable of the same kind of launch.”
There is already buzz among the students looking to enter next year’s competition. Goulet says there are differences of opinion about the kind of trebuchet the UTC team should enter, so “there may be two entries instead of one.”