Civil Engineering students design winning wooden launcher

A team from BCIT tests their wood trebuchet in preparation for competition.

Ten teams of students gathered at UBC, Saturday, March 27 to compete in an annual event known as the Wood Catapult Competition, sponsored by the Canadian Wood Council.

Among the competitors were two teams from BCIT’s Civil Engineering program, both headed by Dr. Habib Rahman, the official faculty liaison. Students were challenged to design and build a wooden structure that would launch a two-pound projectile at a target set at 20, 30 and 45 metres.

While one of the BCIT teams had technical problems (failure of their launching arm) and did not finish the competition, the other – comprised entirely of first year Civil Engineering students – won both third overall as well as the prize for the longest distance.

The team, named “Dr. Douglas Doom and Associates,” used a floating arm trebuchet to launch the successful projectiles. “A trebuchet is a particular kind of catapult in which a counterweight is used to rotate an arm that swings a sling up to the vertical position whereupon one end of the sling releases, propelling the projectile towards the target,” explains Martin Bollo, an instructor in Civil Engineering and past faculty liaison for the event.

According to Martin, the BCIT students’ “long distance launch went so far it actually landed beyond the end of the field in a wooded area (no wildlife was hurt), beating the nearest competition by a wide margin.”

Congratulations to all participants!

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