For Greene County News
CEDARVILLE — With the birthplace of aviation serving as the location, the 21st annual World Solar Splash Championships will return to Dayton June 10-14 at Eastwood Park. Cedarville University will host the event for the second-straight year as teams from universities all over the world compete.
Solar Splash is an event that tests the engineering design and production skills of each team through a technical inspection and a series of on-the-water competitions. Each team is required to produce a piloted boat up to six meters in length powered by 480 Watts of solar power with one kW-hr 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 in to the final score.
Tim Dewhurst, Ph.D., senior professor of mechanical engineering and faculty adviser for Cedarville’s solar boat team, was instrumental in bringing the competition to Dayton last year and expects this year’s event to be just as successful as it was in 2014.
“We got the event off without a hitch last year,” he said. “I think all the teams were very pleased with the venue. It’s a beautiful location and everyone can see the competition from where they are. In past venues, spectators had to move back and forth to watch the races, but the Eastwood Park location is perfect.”
In addition to Cedarville, other participating teams include: the University of Dayton, Stony Brook University, Northeastern University, The College of New Jersey, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Rochester, the University of South Carolina, Cal-Poly Pomona, the University of Southern Indiana, Geneva College, Ohio Northern University and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.
Cedarville is the most decorated participant in Solar Splash history, having won the event seven times in the last 11 years.
“We have high standards for our students,” Dewhurst said. “But we also give them the mentoring they need to be successful. As faculty, we try to be as accessible as possible and give hands-on learning experiences. That’s what’s so great about Solar Splash, students have to design, test and then fix the problems they find with their board — it’s not just a design on paper.”
Last year, Stony Brook took home the overall title while Cedarville won awards for best visual display, outstanding system design, outstanding electrical system design and outstanding technical report.
“Our success at Solar Splash shows that we stack up very well against other programs at other schools,” Dewhurst said. “Solar Splash is a great thing to talk about with prospective students and their parents when they come for visits.”