GCU’s Fall Apollo 13 Challenge E-Week Competition


Monday, Nov. 30, 2020
Friday, Dec. 4, 2020


Virtual Via Zoom


Various Times

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Put engineering skills to the test in this year’s

In order to give students more opportunities to explore STEM concepts,  Grand Canyon University is calling you to participate in our fall E-Week competition.

Just as the astronauts in NASA’s Apollo 13 spacecraft were challenged to build an air-purifying system with the limited materials they had on hand, we are challenging you to build a system to purify the air in your home.

Competition Rules

A contestant’s system must fulfill the following requirements:

  • System must purify an extensive amount of air with ease: judges will consider the amount of purified air a system can produce in a short timeframe
  • Materials used must be common household items:
    • Store-bought air filters may not be used; designs including store-bought filters will not be considered.
    • Store-bought floor or box fans may not be used; designs including these fans will not be considered.
      • Students are permitted to use a 12v fan if they choose.
  • System must be cost effective: cost can be no more than $40 total.
  • System must be sustainable: judges will consider if a contestant’s system is reusable or one-time-use only.
  • System must be portable and easy to move from room to room.
  •  Other variables the judges will consider:
    • If the air purifying system is automated.
    • If the system is easy for a user to assemble.
    • Contestants are welcome to submit a report detailing what chemicals their system filters based on the materials used.
      • Scholarly sources must be cited within the report.

Competition Prizes

Designers of the top five systems will receive a one-year SOLIDWORKS® academic license!

Submission Guidelines

  • Testing your system:
    • Contestant must film the following in a time-lapse video:
      • Burning a stick of incense, a contestant must capture the smoke in a 2- liter bottle, then slowly release the smoke roughly one to three inches away from the system.
        • Please be sure to have a contrasting background to ensure the smoke is as visible as possible within the video.
    • Film the visible changes of the air as the smoke runs through the system, as well as the filtered air that leaves the system.
    • Contestants must use a streamer or flag throughout the whole video to display the air leaving the system.
  • Time-lapse video must be uploaded to YouTube with privacy set to public.
  • Submitting your system:
    • Email [email protected] with the following:
      • Contestant’s first and last name.
      • Link to test video on YouTube.
      • List of materials used and the cost of each item.
      • Any additional reports a contestant would like to provide.
    • Submission deadline: Dec. 1 by noon AZ Time.
  • Late submissions will not be considered.

Winners will be announced during a special GCU LIVE presentation on Dec. 4 at noon Arizona Time. GCU’s engineering program development specialist will highlight top competitors and announce the winners.