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AUS engineering freshmen compete to build lightest tower crane
Over 500 first-year American University of Sharjah (AUS) College of Engineering students put their engineering skills to the test in a competition to build the lightest tower crane yesterday evening, Sunday, December 14, 2014 at the AUS Main Plaza. The competition is part of the first-year NGN 110 Introduction to Engineering and Computing course taken by all AUS engineering students to help them enhance their teamwork, engineering design, problem solving, time management and communication skills.
The 560 freshman students were divided into 112 groups and each group had to build a tower crane that could carry a load of 200g. The items available for building the cranes included cardboard, strings, skewers, paper, cotton swabs and sand. All cranes had to be built to the same specific dimensions and the winning team's crane had to be the lightest in weight.
The winning crane came in at just 55 grams. Members of the winning team were chemical engineering student Ali I. Shaheen, electrical engineering student Abdel Gafoor Haddad, and mechanical engineering students Ahmad Eljack, Ahmed Tariq Mansour and Hudhaifa Talib Khairullah. The second-place crane weighed 72 grams, and the third place crane weighed 181 grams.
The competition was organized by Dr. Fadi Aloul, Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and laboratory instructor Naveed Nawaz.
"This competition reflects the creativity and innovation of our freshmen students. Over 100 different cranes were built with amazing structures, and more than 90 percent were successfully able to meet the challenge and the constraints. The competition helps our students develop skills that will be valuable to them in their university studies and future careers," said Dr. Aloul.
Dana Kanbar, a first-year student majoring in computer science, said, "It is a lot to take on the first semester, but the experience was great and working with a team taught me a lot about managing time and enhanced my ability to work with a group."
Participants represented all seven bachelor of science programs offered by the College of Engineering at AUS, which are chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and mechanical engineering.
Judging the competition were Aqeel Mohammed Taher from the AUS Department of Civil Engineering; Dr. Mahmoud Ibrahim and Dr. Ayman Al Hag from the AUS Department of Electrical Engineering; and Dr. Rami Afif As'ad from the AUS Department of Industrial Engineering.
Previous competitions have required students to design and construct bridges, cars, helicopters, boats and paper planes, among other structures. The event was attended by AUS officials including the dean of the College of Engineering.