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ME: The Mechanical Engineering Department Newsletter


The ME Newsletter
Spring-Summer 2008

Featured articles

Getting into shapes: Krishnan Suresh
applies CAREER award
to optimization

Two ME faculty receive College of Engineering recognition awards

Vehicle teams built
for speed!

Snowmobile team "zaps" competition with electric snowmobile

Alum earns college achievement award

West meets East: ME students take part in China Summer Program

Regular Features

Message from the Chair

Faculty News

Focus on new faculty:
David Rothamer and
Ryan Kershner

Professor Edward Lovell




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The University of Wisconsin-Madison Human Powered Vehicle Team

The UW-Madison Human Powered Vehicle in competition

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The Human Powered Vehicle team hosted the three-day regional ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) April 25-27. Twenty-four teams from around the country—and one from Venezuela—brought a variety of bicycle-like vehicles to courses set up around the Madison area.

Some of the vehicles resembled eggs or boats, while others looked more like traditional bicycles.

The UW-Madison vehicle was a fan favorite, powered solely by the driver’s arms and hands—unlike most of the other entries, which were leg-powered. Dubbed the Arm & Badger, the yellow Baja-style vehicle boasted an adjustable seat, built-in trunk and hydraulic steering.

The competition consisted of three races, including a 100-meter sprint race, 65-kilometer endurance race and a utility race, held in various locations in the Madison area. Assistant Professor Frank Pfefferkorn, the HPVC team faculty adviser, says ASME and the judges offered “heaps of praise” for the committee of team members who organized the event.

“Despite the less-than-perfect weather on Saturday, they loved the courses that we chose and the race on Sunday was one of the most fun endurance races in many years,” says Pfefferkorn. “I believe the competition was a resounding success.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Hybrid Vehicle Team

The UW-Madison Human Powered Vehicle in competition

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The Hybrid Vehicle Team cruised to second place in the final year of the Challenge X competition. Sponsored by General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy, the competition culminated in a three-day road rally from Englishtown Raceway in New Jersey to Washington, D.C.

The challenge consists of 17 collegiate teams competing to design, fabricate and refine a hybrid vehicle suitable for consumer use based on the Chevrolet Equinox Crossover SUV platform. The goals are to minimize energy consumption, emissions and greenhouse gases while maintaining or exceeding the vehicle’s utility and performance. The four-year competition began in 2004 with a focus on modeling a “virtual vehicle,” and each of the following years gave students the opportunity to implement their models and promote their innovations.

The UW-Madison vehicle, Moovada, is a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric vehicle with a 1.9L GM direct injection turbo diesel engine, fueled by B20 biodiesel. The competition tested the vehicle in acceleration, fuel economy, emissions, ride quality and maneuverability testing, then road rallied to public relations events in New York City, Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

A routine but ill-timed regeneration of the diesel particulate filter prevented the Moovada from a peak performance, but the team’s outstanding engineering and outreach earned a second-place finish.

The Hybrid Vehicle Team’s next challenge is the EcoCAR competition, slated to kick off in fall 2008. Students will redesign a Saturn Vue to minimize petroleum usage and tailpipe emissions.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Formula SAE Team

The UW-Madison Formula SAE Vehicle

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The UW-Madison Formula SAE Team raced to first place at the inaugural Virginia International Raceway competition April 23-26. This was the first Formula SAE event to incorporate a road course that included significant elevation changes.

The UW-Madison drivers piloted their one-third-scale Indy-style car to victory while awing the spectators with unmatchable lap times. In addition to winning the overall event, the team captured first place in autocross, endurance, sales and design and received five sets of race tires and $5,200 in cash prizes.

Powered by a 600 cc motorcycle engine producing more than 70 horsepower, the car was the only vehicle of 43 at the competition to run on E85 fuel. United Wisconsin Grain Producers of Friesland, Wisconsin, has sponsored the team for the last two years. “Their funding has allowed the team to fully demonstrate the advantages that E85 can provide,” says team advisor Faculty Associate Glenn Bower.

The team went on to compete in the world championship at the Michigan International Speedway May 14-18, joined by approximately 120 teams representing 20 countries from around the world. The team captured fourth place overall, the highest finishing U.S. team, along with several second- and third-place awards.



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Date last modified: Monday, 18-August-2008 15:43:00 CDT
Date created: 18-August-2008



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