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Blaze Your Own Trail with a Balloon-powered Vehicle

How much weight can a balloon-powered vehicle carry? Find out with this year's 2015 Fluor® Engineering Challenge. Check the challenge guidelines, design and build your own vehicle, and enter for a chance to win money for your school from Fluor!

A pencil is held between two CDs

Turning a pile of parts into something functional is half the fun and a big part of the appeal of engineering for a lot of students. If you have ever done a science challenge where your team was handed a few sheets of paper or a handful of dried pasta and told you that you had 15 minutes to make a bridge, then you know that being challenged to think creatively about the goal at hand and how to work within the limitations of a specific set of materials and guidelines can be a lot of fun!

This year's 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge offers the same kind of hands-on fun and excitement for K-12 students. The goal is for students, working along or in small teams, to design and build a balloon-powered car that can carry a load of pennies across the finish line (or into the target zone) of a homemade test arena. How much weight the car can successfully carry is part of the challenge. What materials you use from the approved list to build your vehicle is another part of the challenge. If you come up with a working design that uses fewer materials, you may increase your final score.

So how can you turn a few CDs, balloons, jumbo straws, pencils, paper clips, and tape into a weight-bearing car that will successfully roll down the path and across the finish line? You will need to think creatively about the challenge, brainstorm ideas for how your vehicle might be assembled, and then put it to the test. If it doesn't work, you may need to go back and rethink certain aspects of your design and try again. If your vehicle carries one penny, blow up your balloon(s) and run it again with two. How much weight can it carry? Are there any design modifications you can make that will make a difference? Does your vehicle need everything you used to build it?

With the 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge, students will put the Engineering Design Process in motion.

We can't wait to see how your balloon-powered vehicle turns out! Plus, if you submit your results, you will be entered in the random drawing for a chance to win $1,500 USD for your school!

The official window for entries is February 22-March 15, so start gathering your materials and get ready for this year's Engineers Week and the 2015 Fluor Engineering Challenge.

Fluor is a proud sponsor of Science Buddies.
Fluor is a registered service mark of Fluor Corporation. All rights reserved.

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