WMU News

Egg-ceptional students hope packaging yields $15,000 award

September 4, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- What do you get when you combine a raw egg and 64 cubic feet of water in a container and drop it from 20 feet? Hopefully nothing if you're the team from Western Michigan University, one of eight college teams competing for the $15,000 award from Energy Challenge '98, taking place Sept. 12 at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

The competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST), Hercules Inc. and the pulp and paper industry, requires college teams to design and construct a package that will protect a raw egg when dropped up to 20 feet onto a solid surface.

To receive the $15,000 award, the winning team's package, which contains 64 cubic inches of water and a raw egg, must not leak and must remain intact after a series of drops, starting at five feet and going up to 20 feet. Packages must be made with chemical wood pulp, secondary wood cellulose and paper chemicals only.

The purpose of Energy Challenge '98 is to foster education and awareness of manufacturing design efficiency, packaging technology, recycling, waste minimization and pulp and paper industrial processes. The competition is associated with the Department of Energy's Agenda 2020 -- a program to help the pulp and paper industry reach the vision of more energy efficient manufacturing processes in the year 2020.

With the help of a $2,000 project startup grant from the Department of Energy, the competitors were tasked with preparing a design proposal and project reports; raise funds; and design and construct an efficient package in which to protect the egg. Participating students are learning design efficiency, the structural mechanics of packaging products, waste minimization and the industrial processes of the pulp and paper industry. In addition to how the teams' eggs survive the series of drops, the final scores will also be based upon the proposal and reports submitted to contest officials beginning last September.

Other schools competing in Energy Challenge '98 include: Clarkson University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Miami University in Ohio, Mississippi State, North Carolina State University, University of Colorado at Denver and University of Maine.

Editor's Note: Additional information about the competition can be found on the Institute of Paper Science and Technology web site at <www.ipst.edu>.

News media contacts:
DOE: Sarah Manion, 303 275-4709, cellular, 303 475-6202
WMU: Yvonne Steffler, 616 387-4023 or Raja Aravamuthan, 616 387-2795

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