SMCA Student Wins Big at International Science Fair
Almost every senior has a busy last year of school, but not many have last years like Eddie Strickland. Eddie is a senior at South Montgomery County Academy. He is graduating Valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA, played four sports his last year at the Academy and is making a name for himself internationally. He also spends a lot of his free time in the school science lab.
Eddie was on the search for a science fair project. Naturally having an affinity for cars and engines, he decided to do some research on an important but often overlooked car part.
“And when I saw the muffler, and did research into how inefficient it is, and how it hasn’t been changed in so many years, it was just obvious to me that, that needs to be made better,” he says.
So, Eddie came up with his own idea.
“So what I set out to do was to create a muffler that allowed the engine to perform efficiently, but also kept the sound down to a stock or below sound level,” he says.
He took the two standard models of mufflers and combined them to make his ideal part. The standard stock muffler on most cars is quiet, but is not as good at improving horsepower or fuel efficiency. There is also a high-performance muffler, commonly placed on sport and street racing cars, that improves the function of the car, but is extremely loud. Eddie’s design improves horsepower and fuel usage, while simultaneously cutting down on noise pollution.
“It’s a quiet performance muffler,” he says. He has appropriately named his design the Dual Purpose Muffler. His entire school stood behind him as he researched and constructed his idea, with classmates and teachers giving up free time to help run trials.
John Johnson, Eddie’s science teacher, even sacrificed his old truck so Eddie could have a test subject.
“We needed a test vehicle that wasn’t computer controlled because of the, oxygen sensors and so forth,” says Johnson. “So that was the only one we could come up with, so that’s what we did!”
Eddie’s invention propelled him to the very top of science fairs across the state. He traveled across the nation with his muffler, eventually competing in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Out of nearly 1,700 projects submitted by students from 75 different countries, Eddie and his muffler won second place.
“You can do a lot more than you think, even if you’re in just a little town in the middle of Nowhere, Alabama, that you can go anywhere you want to go, really,” he says with a laugh. “As long as you’re willing to put in the work and the time, you can do anything that you want to do, really.”
Eddie plans to head to Auburn University this fall and major in engineering. He is currently talking with a lawyer and working on a patent for his muffler design, which he hopes to sell to a auto-manufacturing company.