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Design a biodegradable cooler
Challenge Type: engineering
top 10
87 months ago

There are many companies that manufacture coolers (portable ice chests) that span from small personal size coolers at $10 to large rolling coolers for professional sportsman that retail for prices above $500. Even though the coolers look different in shape, color, size and features, most to all have one distinct similarity – they use materials that are not biodegradable and none are ECO friendly.

In fact, the most common material that provides the thermal insulation is polyurethane. Another common thermal material used on the inexpensive coolers found at gas stations or convenient marts is Styrofoam or expanded polystyrene (EPS). While these materials work well for maintaining temperature, they don't help out the planet. We want to make a more environmentally friendly cooler.


Propose an environmentally friendly personal cooler that meets the following criteria:

- 10-30 Quart size

- Must maintain ice for at least one day per 10 quart volume (2 day ice retention for a 20 quart cooler)

- Every material used must be completely biodegradable

Include the following in your proposal:

1. What materials will you use to make your cooler (Make sure they are eco friendly!)?

2. A written explanation of your design and how it maintains coolness

3. Sketches, drawings, mock-ups, charts, graphs or any other visuals that help to explain or visualize your idea

Things to consider:

- Sketches and drawings will not be judged based on their artistic merit

- Place your focus on materials and how they are used but don’t limit your creativity only on materials, include in your proposal the shape, the size (capacity in quarts), the parts (is it 1 part or an assembly), etc.

- Be creative, think outside the box, and explore the impossible. Keep in mind that what you propose does not have to resemble or follow how coolers are made today.

- Do not use ideas that have already been patented

Terms and conditions:

All Solutions submitted by Solvers in response to this Challenge are subject to any Challenge-Specific

Provisions contained herein and shall be construed in accordance with the MindSumo Terms of Use as agreed to by Solver.

    Submissions will be graded on the following criteria:
  • Meets Deliverables
  • Creativity
  • Clarity
Reward Tiers
5 Winners
will receive $150 each
5 Honorable Mentions
will receive $50 each
$150.00 Angad Singh Stanford University
$150.00 Alexander Malin Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
$150.00 Melaina Wright Arizona State University
$150.00 Abigail Danfora American University
$150.00 Kaleb Steele Indiana University
$50.00 Molly Caldwell Appalachian State University
$50.00 Mandeep Patel University of Texas at Austin
$50.00 Valerie Nunez Savannah College of Art and Design
$50.00 Tarun Jha University of Florida
$50.00 Uzma Tazeen Ecc
Submission questions

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