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Balsa Wood Bridge Competition

Engineers Day Competitions

One of the more popular events of Engineers Day is the Quiz Bowl competition, sponsored by Tau Beta Pi (the National Engineering Honor Society). The Quiz Bowl gives visiting students a chance to show how much they know about science and math topics by working in teams of four to complete a thirty-minute written examination consisting of sixty to seventy multiple choice questions. The four teams with the best scores advance to the semifinal round, and the contest concludes with the two top teams going head-to-head for the coveted Quiz Bowl Championship.


School Finish
Farragut High School Team A 1st
Knoxville Catholic High School Team A 2nd
Hardin Valley Academy 3rd
Farragut High School Team B 4th
Webb School of Knoxville 5th
L&N Stem Academy Team A 6th
Oak Ridge High School 7th

Another fun and exciting part of the day is the High School Balsa Wood Bridge Competition sponsored by the UT Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Schools are encouraged to construct miniature balsa wood bridges and bring them to Engineers Day to be tested for structural efficiency.


School Final Score Finish
Hampton High School 1160.09 1st
Happy Valley High School 1019.58 2nd
Heritage High School 956.02 3rd
Unaka High School 898.01 4th
Lenoir City High School 884.60 5th
Pigeon Forge High School 694.10 6th
JCHS TSA 464.36 7th
Maryville Christian School 366.62 8th
Oak Ridge High School 351.83 9th
Alcoa High School 341.68 10th
Jefferson County High School 336.08 11th
STEM Co-op 335.46 12th
Rhea County High School 290.02 13th
Galtinburg-Pittman High School 264.05 14th
King’s Academy 180.30 15th
William Blount High School 156.21 16th
STEM School Chattanooga 142.82 17th
L&N STEM Academy 136.59 18th
Silverdale Baptist Academy 114.88 19th
McMinn Central High School DNQ
Sullivan South High School DNQ
Unicoi County High School DNQ

Download the 2017 Balsa Wood Bridge Competition Results.

The Egg Drop Competition has quickly become one of the most popular events at Engineers Day. Sponsored by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Materials Advantage student chapter, students must design a device that will protect a “free range” grade A egg from breaking when dropped, with the focus being on the materials used to protect the egg.

Student Final Score Finish
Trinity Camillo – Hampton High School 43.1182796 1st
Keith laBudde – Daniel Boone High School 47.25806452 2nd
Gabe Peck – L&N STEM Academy 50.80645161 3rd

Download the 2017 Egg Drop Competition Results.

Competitors must determine whether the shape of a boat could affect how much weight it holds, specifically, a foil boat holding pennies. The competition is sponsored by the Engineering Mentor Program.

Groups of two to three are given a square of aluminum foil and a certain number of pennies. Groups must construct a boat out of the foil to hold as many pennies as possible without sinking.

Boats are tested in a tub of water, one penny at a time. The boat must float for five seconds before each added penny is counted as successful. Water entering the boat or the boat touching the bottom of the tub is considered sinking, and the last penny added before sinking doesn’t count toward the penny total.


Team Total Pennies Finish
Heritage High School – Dylan White and Madison Galbstra
Hampton High School –  Zack Oliver and Kole Fisk
325 1st
L&N STEM Academy – Hunter Harris, Zander Chupp, Michael Sevier, and Zach Medley 307 2nd
Silverdale Baptist Academy – Tim Moyers and Nathan Frisk 304 3rd
Rhea County High School 298 4th
L&N Stem Academy 286 5th
Heritage High School 244 6th
Oak Ridge High School 243 7th
STEM Co-op 204 8th
Central High School 200 9th
Jefferson County High School 199 10th
The King’s Academy 184 11th
Hampton High School 183 12th (tied)
Jefferson County High School 183 12th (tied)
Pigeon Forge High School 172 14th
L&N STEM Academy 165 15th
Stone Memorial High School 164 16th
Halls High School 156 17th
STEM Academy 148 18th
Halls High School 147 19th
STEM Co-op 125 20th
Central High School 121 21st
Hampton High School 106 22nd
Halls High School 105 23rd
Heritage High School 84 24th
STEM School of Chattanooga 64 25th
Central High School 50 26th (tied)
Heritage High School 50 26th (tied)

Students are asked to design and assemble a balloon-powered car with given supplies and limited time. The balloon-powered car must be able to travel in a line on its own without any additional help from the group members or objects not provided.

In engineering, you must be able to work in a team to complete a project while considering the time constraint, structural design, and performance. On Engineers Day, your team will be given a limited set of materials to make the balloon-powered car and given 30 minutes to complete. The limited materials that will be provided are limited popsicle sticks, limited straws, 2 dowels, 2 wheels, and tape. Once the balloon-powered cars are built, the cars will race in groups of five to a predestined finish line. The balloon-powered cars that finished first in each round will have a final race, from which the first, second, and third place cars will be determined.

While the balloon-powered car will be built on Engineers Day, students are encouraged to look for possible design options ahead of time. The competition is sponsored by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.


Team Final Distance Finish
Panthers – Stone Memorial High School 36 feet 1st
Eagles – Rhea County High School 44 feet 2nd
Tigers – Pigeon Forge High School 45 feet 3rd
Bobcats B-Team – Central High School 47 feet 4th
Webb Boolon Team – Webb School of Knoxville 56 feet 5th
Bobcats A-Team – Central High School 57 feet 6th
Team 1 – STEM Co-op 66 feet 7th
Jaguars – West High School 79 feet 8th
Team 2 – STEM Co-op 85 feet 9th
Panthers 2 – Stone Memorial High School 85 feet 9th
Trojans – West High School 86 feet 11th
The Stanleys – L&N STEM Academy 87 feet 12th
Wildcats – Oak Ridge High School 89 feet 13th
Team 3 – STEM Co-op 90 feet 14th
Bulldogs – Hampton High School 96 feet 15th
Dream Team – Harriman High School 96 feet 15th
Pythons – STEM School Chattanooga 97 feet 17th
Baloonatics – Webb School of Knoxville

In this competition, we consider gamma radiation from a laboratory source. Gamma rays are high energy photons speeding through matter until they collide with it. When a gamma ray collides, it deposits energy into the matter. Because gamma rays are so penetrating, it’s possible to detect them through other matter (walls, floors, etc.). By using a detector (a device that recognizes incident radiation) we can tell where radiation is coming from.

This has a very large impact on nuclear security. When radioactive materials are transported across our borders or into our country, they release this radiation and that allows us to find them. But what happens when they are shielded from our detectors? To understand how to detect shielded materials, we must first understand how they might be shielded.

Students will be asked to build a radiation shield (made before coming to campus for the competition) which will then be tested using a Cobalt source to emit gamma rays.


School Final Score Finish
Kingston High School 8.91692 1st
Kingston High School 9.33908 2nd
Kingston High School 9.720401 3rd
Stone Memorial High School 12.3947 4th
Pigeon Forge High School 22.58065 5th
Webb School of Knoxville 53.45131 6th
Pigeon Forge High School 55.25415 7th
Jefferson County High School 74.99785 8th
Webb School of Knoxville 160.5185 9th
Webb School of Knoxville 163.3233 10th
Webb School of Knoxville 242.5822 11th
L&N STEM Academy 690.6069 12th
STEM Co-op 788.5714 13th
William Blount High School 924.6017 14th
STEM Co-op 966.0837 15th
Webb School of Knoxville 1046.945 16th
William Blount High School 1245.907 17th
Rhea County High School 2162.741 18th

Download the 2017 Radiation Shielding Competition Results.

The Tech CarniVol Student Organization sponsors a science and engineering festival for students in conjunction with the Engineers Day event. They offer five competitions of which three are more suitable for high school students to participate in, “RoboRage Harvest,” “Capture the Flag,” and “Houston, we have a problem!”. Visit Tech Carnivol for competition information. Please contact Tech Carnivol at 865-582-5362 or email should you have any questions regarding the Tech CarniVol Festival.

Class I Exhibits
  • First Place: Women in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Assembly Contest
  • Second Place: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Robotics
  • Third Place: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Biochar
Class II Exhibits
  • First Place: Society of Automotive Engineers, EcoCAR
  • Second Place: NASA University Leadership Initiative, Wind Tunnel Demonstration
  • Third Place: Institute of Transportation Engineers, Using Transportation Technology to Improve Safety, Mobility, Efficiency, and Sustainability
Class III Exhibits
  • First Place: Biomedical Engineering Department, SynDaver Lab Tour
  • Second Place: Engineering Ambassadors, Tickle College of Engineering Tours
  • Third Place: Engineering Makerspace, Innovation and Collaboration Studio

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