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Capstone 2019 Highlight: DropLock

Capstone 2019 Highlight: DropLock
Department: Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering
Team: Jeffrey Johnson, Brodie Mangold, Marlon Padilla, Bryan Raqui, Enzo Rodrigo
Advisers: Braden Goddard, Ph.D. and Major Security Consulting & Design
Sponsor: VCU Brandcenter Associate Professor Scott Witthaus

For those sheltering in place during an active shooter event, every second counts. Why, then, do the current door barricade systems require users to slot fussy metal parts together just-so in the heat of the moment?

That was the question behind DropLock, a fast and simple door-blocking device invented by Scott Witthaus, M.A., an associate professor in the VCU Brandcenter, and the late Chris McCann. DropLock can be safely and easily deployed to buy time during an incident and keep people safe until law enforcement arrives. Witthaus is working with this VCU Capstone Design team to optimize the device’s wedge component.

The team is testing materials and geometric proportions to create the strongest possible wedge design. The bottom surface is key, because it has to induce maximum friction on carpet, wood, tile, linoleum and other common floor surfaces. Inspiration for surfaces they are prototyping comes from tire treads, shoe soles, heat-transfering zigzag patterns and even nature (scales, soles, honeycombs). The goal is a cost-effective design that allows for mass production without sacrificing effectiveness.

Capstone Expo visitors will get to see the steps of their full design-and-build process and examine earlier wedge prototypes. They will even be able to test the final wedge on a real door frame and door the team is building for the event.