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Cool as Ice

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:


Intercoolers are used as a cooling mechanism, for instance for a car engine, by maximising the air-flow around the engine.

Your task is to design and construct a prototype intercooler, based on a cube, to house a model engine which requires cooling.

Intercooler Specifications
  • two opposing faces to be punctured by a diamond shaped hole in the centre, which should be as large as possible without weakening the structure or allowing the 'engine' to fall out
  • the other two opposing faces to be punctured by 4 holes to take support tubes (drinking straws will be used in the prototype)
  • the intercooler must support the engine when suspended by the support tubes



You have available to you:
  • A3 sheet of card
  • Scrap paper
  • rulers, glue-sticks, pencils, scissors
  • 4 drinking straws
  • 1 model engine (you could model this with a cube constructed of 4x4x4 multi-link cubes for A3 card)

Key questions you should consider before starting
  • What do you need to know/decide to complete this task?
  • What tasks will each group member have?
  • How will you make sure the coolers pass quality control?