Texas A&M students build vaccine-refrigerating bicycle

Four engineering students from the University of Texas A&M recently created a more effective means of refrigerating and transporting vaccines.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering students were able to turn what started as class project into a more effective means of getting critical vaccines to remote areas in the developing world, according to TheBatt.com.

Devesh Ranjan, an assistant professor, assigned his thermal fluids class the project to aid them in understanding some of the key concepts in his class while keeping developing countries in mind.

“I wanted to give them a different perspective,” Ranjan said, TheBatt.com reports. “I tell them now that they are ready to go out in the industry. Let’s try to do something that you will be proud of after leaving. All the while, I keep the project aimed at the benefit of developing countries.”

The students came up with an idea to construct a mobile refrigeration unit that contains a cooling system powered by pedaling. Travis Schott, a senior mechanical engineering major and one of the four students involved in creating the device, said that it was based on familiar appliances.

“The prototype is based on the vapor compression cycle, which is found in your refrigerator at home, industrial freezers and the AC unit in your car,” Travis said, according to TheBatt.com. “We actually pulled our unit out of an ‘89 Honda from Bryan Auto Recycling.”

“Professor Ranjan actually had a group work on [the mobile refrigeration system] in a previous semester,” Schott said, TheBatt.com reports. “They used more of an electric approach, using a small generator on the back wheel which generated a current that ran to a thermoelectric device. It got to their target temperature in close to an hour. We wanted to do that faster.”

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