Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Athens, OH 18 April 2018 –
The Ohio University Human Powered Vehicle team recently competed for their fourth time in an event sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, this year at Penn State University. The competition’s goal is to provide innovative solutions to the world of human powered vehicles to make them more practical in today’s world.
To achieve this, there are multiple events that test teams and their vehicles which range from technical analysis and documentation, to drag races and a two and half hour endurance event with various obstacles including speedbumps, slaloms, stop signs, and even carrying groceries.
As part of the preliminaries on Friday, there was a safety check, which included assessment of the impact in a rollover.
Saturday was filled with a men’s and women’s, double elimination style drag race where teams begin from a stop and accelerate down and quarter mile stretch of road.
Traditionally the team had designed tadpole trikes, a trike with two wheels in the front for their low speed stability and handling, but this year that was changed to a two-wheeled vehicle that is much less stable at low speeds. This was countered with landing gear that could be deployed but the change to two wheels allowed for better efficiency and thus higher speed in this event. One member of the team was able to accelerate to 37.8 mph over the quarter mile stretch which makes it the fastest vehicle the team has designed to date. Our one female rider ended up riding all races in that bracket and brought home 3rd place, and I combined with one other male to finish in fourth place on the men’s side.
Sunday is the day of the endurance event, the two and a half hour race that always seems to be filled poor weather and puts vehicles and riders to the test. This year the weather was cold and the majority of the course was a grueling gradual climb, but the team managed to get by with only five riders, one of which, reached the maximum 20 km limit per rider. In the end, the team finished the endurance event in second place of the 45 teams that were there, but after a few penalties were applied we dropped to third.
One of the things that I was personally the proudest of was that the team was awarded the sportsmanship award for helping other teams when they needed it. As I am still very close to the two founding members, I know that is the type of culture that they both wanted the organization to be like and would be very proud that it has remained that way to this day.
To me, this organization and event have been incredibly important as it has offered me a tremendous growth opportunity not only on the technical side, but also as a leader and manager. This was the first year with new, highly motivated, leadership that I was able to mentor some, but it was great to watch as they developed another reliable vehicle for the competition. In the future I plan on staying involved in the team as a mentor and possibly sponsor, but also may be interested in assisting with further competition judging or event planning activities within ASME.