Emilie Rusch

Cornerstone Design challenges students to envision infrastructure’s second life

Team Blast Off's winning idea would recover valuable aluminum alloys from decommissioned aircraft.
Team Blast Off with their winning Cornerstone Design project

Can we economically and safely give antiquated infrastructure a second life through detection, repair, disassembly, recycling or repurposing?

That was the open-ended design question faced by Mines students in the Fall 2019 Cornerstone Design Competition, and if the team projects presented at the Dec. 5 finals were any indication, the answer is yes.

Closeup of Team Blast Off's project

Winning the competition – and the $1,000 grand prize – was a solution for the thousands of obsolete airplanes currently warehoused in what are essentially plane graveyards.

Team Blast Off’s Automated Airplane Disassembly is an automated, customizable device to recover valuable aluminum alloys from the decommissioned aircraft. Forming the winning team were Alexander Nesbitt, Christopher Engel, Jenna Verissimo, Alexandra Cooke and Eugene Hamzezadeh.

Second place and $500 went to Goal Diggers, which tackled declining telephone landline usage by converting the power supplied by landline ports into an emergency power source for charging cell phones or other small devices. Team members were Jackson Sweeney, Grant Rulson, Reed Henderson, Justin Davis and Lauren Longworth.

Third place and $250 went to The AquaDucks for “Phosphate Phix: Pipe Purification and Protection," an in-pipe system designed to both protect and clean drinking water from lead contamination. Team members were Naomi Conklin, Jessica Richman, Cosette McLaughlin, Michael Haldeman, Fatimah Alkhamis and Salma Aldhamen.

Required for all Mines undergraduates, Design I is a semester-long course whose centerpiece is an open-ended design problem that students must solve as part of a team effort. The final competition pits the top project ideas from each class section.

Emilie Rusch

Emilie Rusch

Director of Communications
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.