Student Design Teams

UA's highly regarded student design teams allow students at all levels to apply classroom theory to a major design project. Our design teams consistently rank highly in national and international competitions.

Akronauts Rocket Design Team

Akronauts Rocket Design Team

The Akronauts Rocket Design Team gives UA students the opportunity to work on cutting-edge aerospace projects. The team has several goals, the first being to design and build a rocket to win the annual Spaceport America Cup in New Mexico. Students are responsible for every component that is a part of the launch vehicle, including the airframe, motor and propellant, and the avionics, payload, and parachutes. The team is also developing a series of rockets, named the Emergence Series, with a goal of reaching the Kármán line, which is 100 km above sea level and is the boundary between Earth and space. Students also get hands-on experience in the liquid propulsion program, where they build and design engines using liquid propellants. The team also has a nano-satellite team that is designing a satellite to eventually fly to space on board an orbital rocket.


Akronauts website

Concrete Canoe Team

ASCE-Concrete Canoe Design Team

The UA Concrete Canoe Design Team participates in a national competition where top engineering schools from across the country build and race canoes made out of concrete. Team members learn the aspects of the construction experience, including management skills, concrete mix design, artistic ability, canoe paddling, graphic design and technical writing. Many design team members are civil engineering majors, though anyone can join and no experience is necessary.


Concrete Canoe website

Steel Bridge Team

ASCE-Steel Bridge Design Team

The Steel Bridge Design Team, consisting largely of civil engineering students, gives students the opportunity to be involved in the whole process of bridge design. The team regularly competes in the Student Steel Bridge Competition, where engineering students conceptualize and design through fabrication, erection and testing—culminating in a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes performance and economy. Categories of the competition are display, construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economy and structural efficiency.


Steel Bridge website

ngineering Service Design Team

Engineering Service Design Team (ESDT)

ESDT is committed to engineering a better community. We promote teamwork and application of engineering knowledge using design strategies to develop engineering solutions. We strive to provide these solutions to local nonprofits. Past projects include a portable splash pads for city parks, a portable wheel cart for the Adaptive Sports Network of Ohio, and a hand pedal system for a bike that can be used by people with spina bifida.

This design team includes students from all engineering disciplines and we are open to those looking to build a better community.


ESDT website

Medical Device Design Team

Medical Device Design Team

The team is a group of students dedicated to solving the medical needs of the Summit community through the partnership with Summit Developmental Disabilities. Past projects include adaptive tricycle pedals, fishing poles, motorized cars, and many others! The goal is to expand our engineering efforts into those similar to UA’s highly regarded student design teams and seek out competitions for regular participation.


Design Team website

NASA Robotics Team

NASA Mining Robotics Team

The goals of the award-winning UA NASA Mining Robotics Team are to construct a reliable robot capable of participating in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition, while also reinforcing knowledge learned in the classroom and strengthening abilities used in the workplace. The team mainly has mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering majors, though anyone that enjoys robotics is welcome to participate.

The NASA Robotic Mining Competition is an international tournament held annually at NASA Kennedy Space Center. The goal of the competition is to construct a robot that is able to collect sand on a simulated lunarscape.


Robotics website

Phalanx Robotics

Phalanx Robotics | Combat Robotics Design Team

Established in 2019, Phalanx Robotics is the University of Akron’s student-led combat robotics design team. We design and fabricate robots to fight locally and nationwide. Team members learn how to create their own ‘bots from conceptualization and design to manufacturing and assembly. The sport has a welcoming and inclusive community of brilliant makers and creators around the world, and Phalanx Robotics follows in their footsteps.

Any and every student of UA is welcome to join the team, regardless of major or previous robotics experience. Join us and become a roboteer!


YouTube: Phalanx Robotics
Instagram: phalanxrobotics
Twitter: @PhalanxRobotics

SAE Aero Design Team

Zips Aero Design Team

The Zips Aero Design Team is a student-run design team that designs and builds airplanes from scratch to test and compete in international competitions. Anyone who is interested can join the team. The Aeros accept students from all backgrounds and majors. The team is a great way to make friends, practice engineering outside of the class, learn how to use different engineering software, gain experience with machine shop tools, and be a part of a family. Members participate in the entire engineering process—from design to budgeting finances and construction. The Aeros are one of the most competitive teams at UA and have generally placed top third in the past.


Aero Design Team website

SAE Baja Team

Zips Baja Design Team

The Zips Baja Design Team designs, fabricates, and tests mini off-road Baja vehicles to compete against other colleges across the country. Their goal is to build a Baja car that can survive the toughest of road terrain. Students must function as a team to not only design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also to generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities. While many design team members are mechanical engineering majors, the team is open to any UA student.

Instagram: @zipsbaja


Baja website

SAE Formula Team

Zips Racing - Formula Combustion Design Team

The Formula Combustion Design Team provides students with an opportunity to participate in projects with real-world applications. Students are challenged to incorporate classroom knowledge into effective design related to the automotive industry.

The program concept is that a fictitious manufacturing company has contracted a group of engineers to manufacture a prototype formula-style race car to be evaluated for production. The vehicle must have high performance in acceleration, braking and handling. The car must also be aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and easy to maintain. With the same considerations as any engineering business, the students must also evaluate cost, manufacturing capabilities and reliability.

See how Zips Racing celebrated its 30th anniversary.


Zips Racing website

Zips Racing - Formula Electric Design Team

Zips Racing - Formula Electric Design Team

Similar to the Formula Combustion Design Team, the Formula Electric Design Team creates an environment for students similar to industry work. Students must manufacture a prototype electric race car to be evaluated for production. The vehicle must have high performance in terms of acceleration, braking, and handling capabilities. The car must also be aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and easy to maintain. With the same considerations as any engineering business, the students must also evaluate cost, manufacturing capabilities, and reliability of the race car.


Zips Electric Racing website