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Student on Junkyard Wars
For more information on this story contact:
Email:Marcia Goodrich
Phone:906/487-2343


Jan. 19, 2004--A Michigan Tech mechanical engineering student appears on The Learning Channel's "Junkyard Mega-Wars" Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Sam Barros, 21, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, spent a week in Hollywood last August filming tonight's contest, "Spiller Thriller."

The challenge to the two competing teams was to build an off-road vehicle that could carry an open, 25-gallon container of liquid across rugged terrain without spilling a drop. The teams then had to switch vehicles and try to spill their competitors' liquid.

Barros, the youngest team member, sweated out 109-degree heat in a special suit and welding helmet, rushing around a junkyard and then cutting and welding parts for his team's entry. "It was unbelievably hot and difficult," he said.

A native of Rio de Janeiro, Barros has already received considerable recognition for research, particularly in the area of electomagnetic acceleration. The technology is key to the development of super-fast rail transportation.

He chose Michigan Tech after touring a number of research facilities in the U.S. "Most engineering education seemed to be really theoretically oriented," he recalled. "I wasn't looking for that."

He came to MTU when he found out he could get his hands dirty, which happened this summer while he learned to cut and weld in anticipation of the competition.

Barros can't reveal the outcome of his "Junkyard Mega-Wars" episode, or his team's strategy. "We had a really clever way of doing it," he says. "It was very original, unexpected and very dangerous."

"Junkyard Mega-Wars" airs on TLC, Charter channel 73, at 10 p.m. tonight, at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, and on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Contact: Sam Barros, obneto@mtu.edu, 413-522-3831




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