Sunday, October 5, 2014 by Caleb Cohen
Students enrolled in the capstone course of Saratoga Springs High School’s Project Lead the Way program are applying their acquired knowledge of engineering in ways they never could have imagined. This year’s group of seniors has taken on two projects which have the potential for lasting effects, one involving elementary engineering education and the other building an unconventional engine to generate power.
Michael Gallagher, the teacher of Engineering Design and Development, described the two projects. He said one group of seniors is “picking up where last year left off with E.Y.E.”
E.Y.E., or Educating Young Engineers, is a program for elementary students to develop their problem-solving skills in the fields of S.T.E.M. – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
According to senior Emma Price, “[E.Y.E.] was started last year by Sarah Wilner-Giwerc and Kayleah Griffen. Me, Johanna Gangi, and Chris Guillotte took it over this year.”
“It’s a lot of fun to work with the kids,” said Price. “You have all this knowledge, and then also E.Y.E. is almost like a business. You’re using all he technological aspects, but you’re also using an entirely different skill set – more hands on and applicable.”
Nick Abate, another senior at the high school, is the project manager of the other E.D.D. project.
“We are doing a Nitinol heat engine,” said Abate. “It’s a form of non-conventional energy.”
“Nitinol is this metal that will become malleable in certain water temperatures, and then it straightens – they’re making a heat engine out of it,” said Price.
According to Gallagher, “it uses differential temperatures. Most of the time they use water as the medium.”
The engine that the seniors are working on has the potential to rival models created by professional engineers, and there are possibilities for real-life applications.
“It’s more of an innovation,” said Abate. “There have already been research and attempts at a Nitinol heat engine. We are trying to make the one that works the best.” He added that the team is trying to build the engine to be able to power parts of the high school.
“It’s really exciting,” said Abate. “I’ve learned a lot from Project Lead the Way. I know I’m going to use it.”