Come See the Science, NOT Magic, Behind Electricity

Rudy Montoya
New Mexico SMART Grid Center of NM EPSCoR
Cafe Scientifique New Mexico - Rio Rancho


Rudy Montoya, a mechanical engineer with the New Mexico SMART Grid Center of NM EPSCoR, came to talk about the behind the scenes of his work. He posed the question to the teens, “What technology would you like to see in the future?” As teens talked about 6G internet and time-dependent drug release capsules, Rudy shared how mechanical engineers can or do play a role in their development. He shifted to the technology he uses daily at the NM SMART Grid Center to figure out the best way to deal with energy needs of the 21st century. He pulled up photos of the specialized equipment used at the SMART Grid Centers–from the machine that can be programmed to produce any numbers of grid events and demands to the solar panel arrays–and described how each crucially vital piece had an alarm for its alarm!

Hands on Activity

Hands-On Activities
Teens then took the electrical grid into their own hands. Using circuitry pieces and voltmeters, they mimicked various demands on a SMART Grid and figured out ways to meet that demand.

Rudy Montoya helps out with complex gridwork

Teens flexing their mechanical engineering muscles

Should they use parallel or series circuits? How many resistors could they still use for a given output? They also explored various materials and numbers of wire wraps to make the strongest electromagnets, trying to find ways to utilize electricity in unique ways.

Producing the brightest light!