Designing and Constructing Insulated Devices

Designing and Constructing Insulated Devices Photo

Minnesauke Elementary School sixth-graders recently worked to become design engineers during their STEM class, as they studied thermal energy transfer and 3-D printing.

With the help of their teacher, Sean Dowling, the students created insulated containers based upon their knowledge of heat transfer – conduction, convection and radiation – as well as conductors and insulators.

The students designed a container encompassing two inner joining parts and then selected which type of insulation to fit between the two parts. Once the designs were finalized using the computer CAD software, they were brought to life using the school’s 3-D printer. Students then ran a test to see which printed device was able to keep the most of an ice cube’s mass in solid form after putting it under a light source for 20 minutes. Two project designs per class were chosen to complete in a final grade level challenge. The ice cube enclosed in the device that won the overall competition was found to have only lost 0.66 percent of its mass.

In addition to the hands-on component to the lesson, the students had the opportunity to meet with a Minnesauke parent – Mr. Cutting – who works in the field. During the in-class presentations, Mr. Cutting spoke about the company he works for – Sartorius – and the insulated devices they create and use daily.