About the Swiss Selection

The national selection in a nutshell

The Swiss Selection 2018 will happen on December, 9th at EPFL.

Following the format of the international competition, the participating teams have to work in advance on at least two, and ideally three problems amongst the six selected from the official 2018 problems list, then present and defend their solutions in front of other participants and jury members. The most full solutions mix theoretical models and experimental measurements that, hopefully, match !

For more details about the principles of the competition, see the IPT portal.

Problems of the Swiss Selection

These six problems are taken from the official IPT 2018 Problem List. 

1. Sound thermometer    

Devise a method to obtain the temperature of a fluid by listening to the sound emitted when it is poured into a cup (see video). State the precision, accuracy and the limits of your method as well as the important parameters of the fluid.

2. Static speaker

Build an audio speaker without any moving part. Discuss the maximum bandwidth, signal-to-noise ratio and power efficiency achieved with your design. Is it possible to modify your device to use it as a microphone?

3. Ink tree

When a drop of ink is injected inside especially still water, or dropped very close to its surface, it firstly forms a ring of ink which then divides into smaller rings (see video). The process repeats again and again and forms a tree-like structure of ink. What is the maximal number of ring divisions that one can see and how does it depend on the important parameters?

5. Fluidic Calculator

Droplets having different concentrations of food coloring (containing propylene glycol) move in beautiful and intricate patterns when placed on a clear glass slide (see video). A wide variety of autonomous fluidic machines can be produced using this property. Implement diverse arithmetic operations using such droplets and optimize the operation speed.

8. Candle lighting trick

It is possible to relight a candle that has just been blown out by lighting the smoke that is created in the process (see video). Indeed, the smoke contains vaporized wax which is the substance that burns in the flame in the first place. What is the maximum distance (between the match and the candle) from which one can relight the candle? Identify the important parameters and find how they influence this maximal distance.

16. Bubble light

Sonoluminescence is the emission of short bursts of light from imploding bubbles in liquid. Although the effect has been known for decades, there is no widely-accepted explanation. Suggest a setup to observe the phenomenon and to study the spectrum of emitted light. Can this effect be used to obtain coherent laser-like light emission?

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