The Force of Hydropulsion

2743 Words11 Pages
The Force of Hydropulsion

Executive Summary

For our project, our client, gave us the task of designing and developing a teaching aid that uses hydrogen to power a mechanical device. This task led us to the construction of a hybrid fuel cell/battery-powered model hovercraft. The hovercraft, which we call “Hovercraftica”, uses a battery to power the lift fan and two hydrogen fuel cells to power the fan that provides thrust. Hovercraftica is a self-contained demonstration unit with every aspect of its propulsion onboard. The hydrogen for the fuel cells is produced through the electrolysis of water. This is achieved by collecting light energy via a solar panel and sending it through the fuel cells.

In order to work as efficiently as possible, our team split into three different groups: writing/ presentation, construction design, and electrical. While the construction and electrical teams worked on building and testing the hovercraft, the writing/presentation group created a 220-page teaching manual with student activities, wrote the final proposal, and designed the final presentation.

During construction, our team ran into several problems with the hovercraft. First, we had problems trying to find the necessary parts. Second, the parts that we needed (especially the fuel cells) were more expensive than our budget allowed. Third, we had problems with integrating the hovercraft and fuel cells, and lastly, with finding the motor speed that worked. Eventually we solved these issues, only to be set back again when we fried one of the fuel cells.

After we had our parts, we tested each of them separately to make sure that they worked as needed. We also tested the hovercraft as a whole upo...

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