Senior Design Project Profile: The Story of Two Cool Engineers

The rumors are true and the research is unnecessary, liquids across campus are CLEARLY showing signs of warming. Poorly insulated cups and water bottles seem to be the culprits of this, “warming crisis.” 
Every day, students’ hard, earned liquids—juice, energy drinks and especially those overly-priced Starbucks Lattes are—going warm. Due to a variety of occurrences, this phenomenon known as, “drink warming” continues to effect drink enjoyment.
The issue is rumored to only worsen in the upcoming summer months. So I ask NIU, what is a thirsty student to do? Well, if you are currently too parched to answer never fear because, “The Cold Snap” is here!
Two Mechanical Engineering Majors, have dedicated their Senior Design Project to combating this, “drink warming” phenomenon. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the heroes in cold-drink sustainability, Adam Bennett and Keagan Hinners.
How did you guys come up with this idea for, “The Cold Snap”?
Bennett: “I was at home one night ranting to my girlfriend, over our $75.00 budget for Senior Design. I was frustrated with trying to figure out what I could design to “change the world” with a $75 budget. As I was ranting, my girlfriend told me she would like someone to design something that would chill her wine really fast. Then I thought about it and realized that this idea was completely do-able. That is something that we could design for a reasonable cost and amount of engineering.”
What was the most challenging aspect of this project?
Hinners: “I would say finding the right material to use for the actual design. It was also difficult integrating all of the different disciplines of engineering into a single project.”
Bennett: “I agree. There really isn’t any area you can “slack off” in. Arbitrary decisions can’t be made and everything has to have good reasoning behind it. If it doesn’t then this arbitrariness will show in your design. So it was a definite challenge taking all the different disciplines we have studied over the last four years and engineering them into one project.”
What was the first liquid tested in “The Cold Snap”?
Hinners: “We have only been testing water in glass wine bottles so far.”
Bennett: “The design is adaptable to aluminum cans or plastic bottles. We are still in the very early prototype stages but it should work with any liquid and cup material.”
Looking towards the future, are you guys planning on getting your project patented?
Bennett: “I think there’s defiantly a possibility. It is just a matter of finalizing a design and making it marketable to customers.”
With Graduation and the completion of the Senior Design Projects just weeks away, what will you miss most about NIU?
Bennett: “The thing I’ll miss the most is the freedom to explore your own ideas and having the resources to do so.”
Hinners: “I’ll miss having the opportunity/freedom to study multiple different topics across the differing fields of engineering, rather than being focused in just one specific area.”
Bennet and Hinners are proving how cool engineering can be one drink at a time. #WhyEngineering
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