Gamma Gamma Brothers Engineer a Foundation Installation System in Kenya’s Underprivileged Communities
Rose-Hulman - Gamma Gamma
By Jack Martin Nov 14, 2022
In the first three weeks of Summer 2022, four Alpha Tau Omega brothers, Jack Martin, Paul Sofineti, Braden Blackburn and Gamma Gamma Chapter President Jake Phillips embarked on a journey around western Kenya, Africa immersing themselves in human-centered sustainable engineering design, cultural immersion, and engineering education in a different social context. While there, the brothers, along with 5 other Rose-Hulman students, designed and fabricated an installation method for the foundational beams for footbridges in underprivileged communities under the contract of a company called Bridging the Gap Africa. Installation of the foundational beams was the most inefficient aspect of the bridge construction. In more developed areas, heavy machinery would simply be used to drive the beams into the ground. However, the team had to work within the constraints of the resources and context of the situation they were in. Jack Martin served as the Lead Designer and 3D modeler, while Paul Sofineti performed stress and strain analysis to ensure the materials would withstand the forces acting. Braden Blackburn and Jake Phillips played crucial roles in the fabrication of the system. Experimentation was conducted on the installation design, with the team cutting down the installation of one beam from approximately 2 hours to an astounding 15 minutes. Bridging the Gap Africa has since looked to revise and adopt this method in all of their bridge installations moving forward. While concurrently enjoying fun activities such as safari game drives and local culture, Jack, Braden, Paul, and Jake gained an experience that will better them as engineers, students, brothers and humanitarians.