Five students from the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering placed second in the inaugural Ocean Exploration Trust Engineering Design Challenge. Aaron Potkay, Osama Bukhamseen, Cam Buss, Rachel Soper and Bobby Walker were commended by the review committee for their design, teamwork and professionalism throughout the competition and final presentation.
The team proposed a systematic approach to anchoring and cutting, as well as a unique sample removal process. Specifically, they designed a tool for the sampling of hard basalt rock in harsh deep-sea pressures and temperatures using a buoyant ROV. While previous attempts to sample these deep sea rock formations were unsuccessful due to a lack of a proper anchoring systems for the ROV, the tool designed by the Virginia Tech team has the capability to temporarily anchor the ROV to the surface of the sample site, allowing for a wide range of surfaces, including convex rock shapes and jagged outcrops.
Their submission was honored and the review committee stated that the project “went above and beyond the already high level of engineering expertise expected from an institution such as Virginia Tech.”