10 Years of Mystery Design at UL

March 30, 2023 marked the ten year anniversary of the UL Mystery Design Challenge hosted by Noble Plastics! During the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Engineering Week, Noble Plastics sponsors a design challenge that all engineering disciplines compete in.

In its initial year, students were gathered at Hobby Lobby where the challenge was presented to all teams and the students were given $100 to spend on materials with an hour’s shopping time. They then had two days to build, test, and present their solutions for final point grading. In recent years, the reveal has taken place on the Friday before and shopping has expanded to online avenues to allow extra design time before the competition on Thursday evening. Projects are graded on several success factors by Noble Plastics employees, professors, and other industry professionals in attendance. Cash prizes are handed out to first, second, and third place along with that year’s bragging rights!

This year’s challenge was a water-centered project. Each team was tasked with transferring 4 gallons of water from one bucket to a secondary bucket placed 24 inches higher and further than the original within 2 minutes while minimizing their area under the weight and time curve. Points were assigned based on the following criteria:

  • Total transferred water weight 50 points
  • Transferring water while remaining under the water weight/time curve measured by LabView 30 points
  • Ingenuity/Style 15 points

Extra points were also available under these conditions:

  • Transferring a water toy (rubber duck) 5 points

This year was the first year that a new team was added to the competition! In celebration of ten years the engineering professors formed a team to compete alongside the students! The professors were not eligible for the cash prizes offered to the student teams, but they were eligible for bragging rights.

The competition kicked off with Civil Engineering and ended with the professors. Every team was given the opportunity for 2 attempts to complete their objective and earn as many points as possible. Each team brought style, excitement, and cheer squads to make 2023 our largest and most lively year yet! At the end of the day, three disciplines stood out and took home the prize money:

  • 3rd Place: Petroleum
  • 2nd Place: Civil
  • 1st Place: Electrical

Congratulations to our top teams and to every student that competed this year!

We are forever grateful to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for the relationship we’ve built over the last decade and cannot wait to see what happens next year.

If you’d like to see our video from last year, you can view it here!

To see more images from the event, visit both Noble Plastics‘ and the UL Lafayette College of Engineering‘s Facebook pages!

engineering approach


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