Ventilating Vietnam

11 April 2013

Housing in the town of An Minh in Vietnam, the target for the students' project.
Housing in the town of An Minh in Vietnam, the target for the students' project.

An innovative ventilation program designed by University of Sydney advanced engineering students is being trialled this week in Vietnam.

A team of six advanced engineering students won the 2012 cross-Tasman Engineers without Borders (EWB) engineering challenge with their ventilation project designed specifically for the provincial housing of An Minh a town in the Kien Giang province.

EWB will now conduct a workshop trialling their design with Habitat for Humanity Vietnam (HFHV) in Ho Chi Minh City.

Habitat for Humanity Vietnam representative Kelly Koch says the objective of the workshop is to analyse the student designs for possible implementation in Vietnam.

"To have a focus on our work where we can bring students together to work on the need for simplicity and affordability of low income housing for families in Vietnam is exciting.

"The projects were excellent and had lots of value. We look forward to evaluating how we can incorporate those aspects and work them into our program in Vietnam," said Ms Koch.

The university team known as DragonFly impressed the judges with their three simple components - wooden louvered windows, activated carbon-based dehumidifiers, and a solar chimney to provide year-round airflow, all at a cost of only $20 per household.

During the challenge the team built scale prototypes of each component then tested their models in a wind tunnel.

The team, which was coached by Engineering honours student Catherine Goonan included Gordon Liang, John Mai, Rebecca Tan, Chantelle Thistleton, Warren Dang and Sammy Cheung competed against respective champion groups representing the ACT, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and New Zealand.

The Engineering Without Borders Challenge forms the major component of the first year Advanced Engineering course.

The course, coordinated by Professor Ron Johnston from the Australian Centre for Innovation, places emphasis on team-based learning supported by intensive coaching, detailed analysis of context to determine what might be the right problem to solve, intertwined design and prototype development and testing, and refinement of communication skills to a professional presenter level.

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