Innovation in free flow as students redesign fountain technology

The sight of water dancing in a fountain always captivates — but how many of us give any thought to how that magic comes about? Today’s elaborate fountains are masterpieces of mechanical engineering; and, Toronto-based, internationally known Crystal Fountains recently turned to Humber College for help with design.

The challenge Crystal Fountains brought to a team of faculty and students from Humber’s School of Applied Technology was to build an electromechanical drive system for fountains, which they felt would be more cost effective and reliable than a traditional pneumatic system. The deliverable Crystal was looking for was a fully functional machined nozzle.

Students, working with Professor Hassan Hassan, built a prototype drive system that switched the power source and was more reliable, controllable, and compact than the pneumatic model. They also built a new nozzle with an innovative ball design and enhanced performance tension cables. It has much higher motion capability than previous Crystal Fountains models, but thanks to innovative mechanical techniques, it’s both smaller and less complex than older designs.

The students used electromagnetic components and couplings as well as electrical motors to power the nozzle instead of a pneumatic system and redesigned the nozzle to provide a broader range of tilting and rotation, which gives more control over how the water moves.

In the end, the students had created a nozzle that can make water dance and swivel from every possible angle, sequenced to music and lights. The project greatly enhanced the students’ design skills, highlighted Crystal Fountains’ creativity and innovation and gave the company a unique advantage over the competition.

Industry: Manufacturing
Partner(s): Crystal Fountains
Funded by: Crystal Fountains

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