The Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Minho, held on June 6 and 7, in Azurém Campus, the 5th Race Party, the largest of its kind in the Iberian Peninsula, with 150 high-school and university students in mini-car tests for descents and accelerations.
The minicars were the result of projects carried out this semester and followed the principles of engineering, looking for optimal performance, creative solutions, innovative design and environmental concern, as well as fostering team spirit. The initiative ran from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the central hall of the School of Engineering, and awarded prizes to the authors of the best works.
In the “Race Just Accelerate” a dragster type car was built for a spring, to move five meters as fast as possible. Already in the “Race Just Goes Down” it was necessary to design a pinewood-derby type, using a block of pine wood, four plastic wheels and four nails. There was also the challenge “Launching of Projectiles”, in which a mechanism capable of throwing objects, such as a table tennis ball, was devised.
This initiative began in 2015 and presents a dimension already comparable to similar US events. The idea is that master students of Mechanical Engineering and Product Engineering create physical and virtual prototypes with several possible solutions, adjusting the complexity to their connection to the profession.
“The ‘Race Party’ is unique in Portugal, with a lot of impact and interest from the students, who are eager to demonstrate the efficiency and performance of the cars they made throughout the year, based on the scientific-technological knowledge acquired,” explained Paulo Flores, Professor of Department of Mechanical Engineering of UMinho.
The event was part of the activities of the curriculum of “Integrative II” and captured the interest of the market, supported by a dozen companies and institutions, such as Lexus, which promoted test drives for defensive driving, the talk “Contribution of hybrid systems for mobility” and offered the winners an open day with a visit to CaetanoBus and Aeronautic company, in Gaia.