The Husker Precision Water Team competes in the annual Fountain Wars competition. Team members learn how to integrate technology into water systems, including sensors, controls, and a programmable circuit board (Arduino), which are valuable technical skills for water-related careers. Pumps, PVC pipes, valves, and nozzles are used to build a “fountain” which can accomplish a specific design challenge. The Precision Water Team travels to the annual conference of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), which is where the Fountain Wars competition is held. The next competition is July 28-31, 2024 in Anaheim, CA.
How do I get involved?
The Husker Precision Water Team is open to all UNL undergraduate students. Sign up here for email updates about upcoming meetings. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact one of the faculty advisors, Aaron Mittelstet or Derek Heeren.
As a hands-on competition, the Precision Water Team designs a fountain to complete challenges using the necessary PVC pipes, couplers, fittings, and pumps. Awards are based on the combined scores of a written report, oral presentation, video abstract, construction, technical tasks, and aesthetic display. The primary constraint for the fountain is that tasks must be accomplished by the exclusive use of water power. Team members gain a valuable experience in design, construction, hydraulics, mechanics, and teamwork.
The Husker Precision Water Team placed in the top two at four of the national Fountain Wars competitions since 2013. You can also see more information about the competition on the ASABE website.
Example Design Challenges:
The “Beach Ball High Jump”
The goal for the Beach Ball High Jump task was to launch a beach ball over a high jump standard. The high jump standard started at a height of 5 feet, and with each successful attempt was raised in 1-foot increments up to 8 feet. The UNL design was a water cannon, including a wooden stand, a barrel (10-inch furnace pipe), and a nozzle that created a jet of water to propel the ball. Task points were accumulated based on the number of attempts, the number of successful jumps, and the total accumulated height of successful jumps.
The “Rescue the Dolphin”
The primary objective of this task was to shoot water 6 feet from the pool’s edge into one of two cylinders with a 2-inch diameter opening. Inside the second cylinder, a dolphin was placed, and the task was to fill up the cylinders as quickly as possible. The task was completed when the dolphin reached the top of the second cylinder, where the dolphin was rescued. The design used to complete this task utilized the structure built for the Beach Ball High Jump task, which gave a place to mount the PVC pipe, nozzle, and adjustment system. The adjustment system allowed for both adjustments and stability of the nozzle, which gave the design a higher degree of accuracy.