Auto tech students create mobile AC units

  Thursday, February 12, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Auto tech students create mobile AC units

It's cold right now, but the days of sweltering summer heat are just months away.

There are many creative ways to beat the heat of Kansas summers, as a group of auto tech majors at Pittsburg State are proving this semester.

As part of a project in Scott Norman’s automotive climate control systems course, students were challenged to create small, portable air conditioning units that could function in camping tents or other areas where electricity is not available.

“The idea is they had to essentially invent an AC unit that you could take anywhere and that would work anywhere,” said Norman, associate professor in the automotive technology department. “I told the students to imagine they’re going camping in 100-degree heat, and they needed to find a way to keep cool over night.”

The students, who worked in groups of three to five, could not spend more than $5 per person.

“With such a tight budget, we really had to get creative,” said senior Silas Minkevitch. “It was a great challenge.”

Many of the units were fashioned out of portable coolers, duct tape and ice. How the units were powered, however, varied from group to group.

“Ours is powered by using a USB cable, phone charger and battery pack,” Minkevitch said. “It actually works quite well, and the air coming out is pretty cool. I would definitely take this out camping with me.”

As the project came early in the spring semester, Norman said it also helped the students to get know each other.

“Group projects like this make students learn to work together and get to know their classmates,” he said. “Since they had to also stand in front of the class and give a presentation about their units, it gave the students in other groups a chance to meet everyone.” 



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