By Denise Dick
Greased Lightning didn’t so much burn up the quarter mile as slog down the 18-degree ramp.
Greased Lightning is the edible car that Youngstown State University freshmen students Brandon Gialousis, Chris Mikut and Willie Chapman designed for their engineering class.
With the exception of pretzel-rod axles and peach rings used to keep the wheels in place, Greased Lightning is all meat.
“It’s a mini meatloaf, covered with a bacon weave and another meatloaf around that,” said Gialousis, of Youngstown.
Thick-sliced hard salami served as the wheels.
“We got to pick our own teams, thankfully,” Gialousis said. “I was afraid I’d have a vegetarian on my team, and they wouldn’t want to do it.”
As soon as he heard the assignment, he thought of bacon. He and his teammates, Mikut of Castle Shannon, Pa., and Chapman of Warren, tried it, but it didn’t work.
They were one of 16 teams in assistant professor Kerry Meyers’ first-year engineering class.
The assignment was to design and build edible cars. The cars had to be able to roll — not slide — down a ramp set up in a Moser Hall classroom and continue rolling for at least six inches past the bottom of the ramp.
The students then recorded the data for each trip.
“They plot how they did and analyze it statistically as it relates to their peers,” Meyers said.
It’s an application of what the students have been studying.
Teams were recognized for which car traveled farthest, which went fastest and most spirited and most creative teams.
The students used all types of tasty — or not so — treats in constructing the vehicles. Oreos, Ritz crackers, rice cakes and kielbasa were some of the foodstuffs used as wheels.
Pretzel rods and linguini worked for axles and anything from Rice Krispies treats, cheese puffs and vegetables served as the chassis.
Greased Lightning required some tweaking before it finally coasted all the way down the ramp, but it did hit the 6-inch mark.
The Super Cookie Car designed by freshmen Kayla Zitello, Craig Higham and Jimmy Tancabel, all of Boardman, and Chris Poullas of Hubbard was made out of cucumber, pretzel sticks, Oreos and some chewing gum.
“We tried Ritz crackers [for the wheels], but they broke too easily,” Zitello said.
Likewise with Fudge Stripe cookies, Tancabel said.
Their car rolled down the ramp with little difficulty.