Race day brought more than 80 students from McCutcheon High School to the Greater Lafayette Career Academy to take on students from Jefferson High School in the first ever CO2 dragster competition. The students in introductory transportation classes designed and built miniature race cars that are propelled by carbon dioxide cartridges.
McCutcheon Career and Technical Education teacher Drake Davis says students were able to design and create their cars taking into consideration mass, force, acceleration and aerodynamics.
Students place their cars on the track and watch the light tree at the starting line. When the light turns green, students push a button to pierce the CO2 cartridge that propelled the car 52 feet to the finish line within seconds.
Freshman Ethan Moffitt says he put a lot of thought into making his car lightweight: “The sides are carved out to reduce a bit of weight, and the curve on the top was meant to get some downforce to keep it on the ground and remove a bit more weight. And, it was all sanded to give it better aerodynamics.”
Junior Layne Veldhuizen created his car to look like a 1969 Dodge Charger. “I won one race and I am fine with that,” says Layne. “I learned how crucial your design is to the outcome. I also learned that if you want a smooth surface, you have to do a lot of sanding.”
“I hope students learn that if they set their mind to something they can achieve their goals,” says Drake. “I hope they learn the importance of following instructions and how to implement what they learn in everyday life.”