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Design Project --- Louisiana Tech University
 
Steerable Impact Mole
Sponsor: Dr. David Hall
Team Members: Guy Burch, Hannah Rowland, Matt Myers, Morgan Talley
Team Name: Team Impact
 
Underground pipes can be installed without digging a trench using pneumatic devices that "mole" their way through the ground. These devices work much like a jack hammer, with an air-powered piston moving back and forth resulting in incremental forward motion of the "mole" through the soil. Existing moles are aim and shoot; that is, the operator digs a small insertion pit, points the mole toward the target, lets it go, and then hopes the mole hits the target. Louisiana Tech has been working on developing a steerable impact mole where steering is accomplished by a rotating angled tip at the front of the mole. Louisiana Tech has been working with a mole with a cylindrical shape that is 1.75 inches in diameter and about three feet long. The proposed project involves developing a steerable impact mole where steering is accomplished from the rear of the mole. The project involves only designing the steering portion of the mole, not redesigning the entire mole; the steering mechanism would be attached at the rear of an existing mole. This project involves pneumatics, mechanical design, and possibly some electronics.