These students designed, made and shot off steel bows, experiencing for themselves the difficulties of the ancient American prophet Nephi in making an effective bow out of metal.
"Steel is a lousy material to be designed with," said Anton Bowden, a BYU professor in biomechanical engineering and creator of the competition. "So when I read that Nephi made a bow out of steel, I wondered how that would really perform."
Many students put in weeks researching, designing and producing bows to test that question.
"The first thing I did when I heard about the competition was to go to the library to read books about archery and steel," said Lewiston, Idaho, native Ezekiel Merriam, a junior in the mechanical engineering program. "I spent hours designing and grinding it down to the right shape."
Merriam's efforts paid off, as his bow dominated in the overall distance challenge at 66 yards.