Mechanical engineering is "a splash"

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Skipping rocks and shooting rubber balls out of air compressed cannons, BYU’s Splash Lab is nothing short of interesting when it comes to their projects and research.

The Splash Lab is not your average lab on campus. Everything from rock skipping to ping pong balls bouncing in puddles are studied, along with many other natural phenomena that deal with water and other liquids.

[media-credit name=”Courtesy of Tadd Truscott” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]The Splash Lab was started by Professor Tadd Truscott, the lab’s director who is also a mechanical engineering professor here on campus. He said although it may seem silly, he loves the name of the lab because it sums up exactly what he is interested in doing.

“It says it all in one word,” he said. “I’m kind of a silly person, and I like to study really basic things like rock skipping because it’s just so fun and so cool.”

The type of research that is performed in the Splash Lab is unique and involves many of Professor Truscott’s ideas.

“We take these high-speed cameras and we do all kinds of stuff,” he said. “We determine what they do based from what the cameras show.”

Examples of this include skipping rocks, dropping objects in water and examining sound waves from water droplets when they hit a surface.

One of the advantages of the Splash Lab provides is the experience of professional research for students.

“I am going to pursue a career in math and as a part of that, I have always hoped to find a way to use the math that I learn in my classes,” said Taylor Killian, a mathematics major from Provo. “This has been a really good way to give me direction and to learn how to use specific formulas in real world type things.”

The lab provides an atmosphere for students to understand science and the application of what they have learned in class to the real world.

Ken Langley, a master’s student studying mechanical engineering, expressed what he enjoys most about the Splash Lab.

“I enjoy the curious and investigative environment we’re in,” he said. “We’re always asking questions and we’re trying to find the answers to them.  They’re everyday things that we’re looking at a lot of times.”

For more information and video footage about the Splash Lab visit http://splashlab.byu.edu/.

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