CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University will be going for a three-peat when it hosts the World Solar Splash Competition beginning Wednesday, June 7.
Cedarville is the most decorated participant in Solar Splash history, having won the event nine times in the last 13 years, including the 2015 and 2016 championships.
The 2017 event — which features solar and electric boats built by college students — will be held at the Clark County Fairgrounds. It will include 14 teams from universities around the United States, including the University of Dayton, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Arkansas and the University of New Mexico.
“We are truly blessed to have had such great success,” said Dr. Timothy Dewhurst, senior professor of mechanical engineering. “Success is never guaranteed, even with a very good boat; anything can go wrong. We strive to be humble, friendly and have an attitude of service toward all participants and guests.”
This year, Cedarville’s team consists of seven mechanical engineering seniors. The Solar Splash event is part of their senior capstone project.
Solar Splash tests the engineering design and production skills of each team through a technical inspection and a series of on-water contests. Each team creates a piloted boat up to six meters long, powered by 480 watts of solar power with one kilowatt-hour of stored energy in batteries.
Teams earn points based on their performance in a qualifier, high-speed sprint race, long-endurance races and slalom event. The event judges also review technical reports submitted by each team, which factor into the final score.
“The value of this kind of competition is incredible,” Dewhurst said. “When you have to build what you design, you learn so much more. This type of competition greatly prepares students for industry by teaching them how to approach ‘open-ended’ problems for which there is no set solution.”
Xenia Daily Gazette news report compiled by Scott Halasz.