A team of UA mechanical engineering seniors recently competed in the 2012 ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge at the Miller Motorsport Park in Tooele, Utah.
The UA vehicle, named "Wildcat," of course, was designed and built by a group of mechanical engineering seniors as their senior capstone design project. The high-speed, aerodynamically styled bicycle made its debut May 1 at Engineering Design Day, where the team won two awards.
Team members Giancarlo Guevara, Michael Lesnewski, Justin Monson, Charles King and Abdulla Al-Hail won the $750 Best Engineering Analysis award, which goes to the team with the strongest strategy, implementation and documentation of analyses supporting their design.
ASME team leader Giancarlo Guevara tests the handling of the UA human-powered vehicle.
Photo by Gordon Bates/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Team leader Guevara won a $150 Fish Out of Water award, which recognizes students for successfully accomplishing a task that is not in their realm of expertise. One of the unexpected tasks that Giancarlo took on was applying aerodynamic theory to the fairing of the bicycle to reduce drag and to lessen the negative effects of crosswinds.
He also designed and implemented an automated landing gear system that allowed the vehicle to come to a complete stop without tipping over, all while allowing the rider to remain inside the fairing.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, or ASME, organizes the national Human Powered Vehicle Challenge to test the ability of students to apply engineering design principles to the development of sustainable and practical human-powered transportation.
"Human-powered transport is often the only type available in underdeveloped parts of the world, and if well designed can be an increasingly viable form of sustainable transportation," Guevara said.
The UA team members who entered the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge belong to the student chapter of ASME, which also sponsored the senior capstone project. Of the 19 teams that entered the race, 17 qualified and the UA team placed 11th overall.
"Though some speed class vehicles have topped 60 mph, the competition assigns greater value to the elegance and ingenuity of the design, including presentation, practicality, safety and functionality," Guevara said. "The real objective is to work as a team to design and build efficient, highly engineered vehicles for everyday use, from commuting to work to carrying goods to market."
"One of the most beneficial experiences of the competition was the opportunity to compare our vehicle with the others and identify its strengths and weaknesses," Guevara added.
On returning from the Utah race, Guevara said that the team and their senior-project mentor, aerospace and mechanical engineering lecturer Jyoti Mukherjee, declared themselves extremely pleased with the results. "We not only improved the design, stability and performance over last year's vehicle, but we created a solid platform that can be further refined by next year's team," Guevara said.
ASME HPVC Video
"The Human Powered Vehicle Challenge is a demonstration of creativity and technical innovation," said ASME president Victoria Rockwell. "In designing the vehicles, the students bring classroom engineering theory and design to actual concept and fabrication. In the process, the participants learn to work in a collaborative team environment and acquire the essential skills needed to be successful in the engineering workforce."
ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real-world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.