Fort Pierce Central aerospace institute students build wind tunnel, teach eighth graders

Students enrolled in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Aerospace Institute at Fort Pierce Central High School, a joint partnership between ERAU and the St. Lucie County School District, designed and constructed a 12-foot wind tunnel during the Fall 2012 term under the guidance of Professor Kevin Adkins. The wind tunnel was designed to assess aerodynamic forces on objects such as wings, aircraft, ships, and other blunt and streamlined bodies. Fort Pierce Central senior Michael Alexander, pictured, left, and junior Jose Forero brought the wind tunnel to Lisa Friend’s advanced eighth grade science classroom at Manatee Academy recently. Following a lesson on aerodynamics led by Forero and an overview of the tunnel’s design and construction by Alexander, Friend’s students analyzed data collected from the wind tunnel and confirmed some basic aerodynamic concepts. Forero and Alexander also took time to share their experience while in the Institute. Alexander shared that besides earning college credit for the advanced course, he enjoys not only the rigorous math and physics, but also the opportunity to see the application of these subjects in real world context. Alexander plans to attend the Honors College at Embry-Riddle in the fall and begin an aerospace engineering curriculum, and Forero also plans to enroll in an engineering degree program in the future. Students interested in the Aerospace Institute can contact Fort Pierce Central High School. Friend’s eighth grade student Keondra Blue said she enjoyed learning about the lift equation, while classmate Briana Wells enjoyed learning about the components of airplanes and how they work. Classmate Kyle Yurchak said seeing how the wind tunnel worked was very exciting because it showed how it would work in the real world, while Jon Walborn, who has already applied to enter the program next year, said Professer Adkins explained the topic in a very interesting way.