UMD Team Takes Top Honor in DARPA RevCon Competition

A team of engineering students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering took top honors at the 2015 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Field-Reversible Thermal Connector (RevCon) Challenge sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). University of Missouri hosted this year's event held October 23 at their Reynolds Journalism Institute and Lafferre Hall. UMD was one of eight teams selected in early 2015 to compete in the final round of competition.

The competition, which is in its fourth year, challenges teams to design concepts for a field-reversible, low-thermal resistances connector for use in radar electronics.

The team included undergraduate students Allswell Akrong and Joshua Zelen. Their faculty mentor was Associate Professor Bao Yang. Additionally, recent engineering alumni, and previous competitors, Joseph Fustero (B.S. ’14) and Haoyuan Liu (B.S. ’14) served as mentors.

Pictured from left to right: Associate Professor Bao Yang, Haoyuan Liu, Joseph Fustero, Allswell Akrong and Joshua Zelen

The team’s concept aimed at meeting two key challenges: to have a strong clamping force and to be a good thermal conductor that supplies the least thermal resistance between the circuit board and the heat sink. The competition requires each team to build its own test bed to gauge their thermal connector design that meet the challenge specifications.

Seven industry judges evaluated each project based on novelty, feasibility, cost analysis and overall quality. This year's judges represented Advanced Cooling Technologies, the Air Force Research Laboratory [AFRL], BAE Systems, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems and Rockwell Collins.

This win follows a year of preparation. The team had to submit their proposal for this year’s competition last fall. In the spring, the Maryland team was one of eight winning teams invited to compete in the fall RevCon competition.

Published November 15, 2015