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03-04-2004

Clarkson Students Set To Compete In National Snowmobile Engineering Competition

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is an intercollegiate competition that requires student engineering teams to design a snowmobile with reduced emissions and noise characteristics that equal or improve upon the performance of current snowmobiles. This year the Clarkson team will be competing against 17 U.S. and Canadian university teams.

We are very excited about our chances in the upcoming competition, said junior and student team leader Tyler Wlodyka. "This will be the team's fourth year attending the challenge, and this year we are working with a brand new snowmobile."

After running into mechanical problems at last year's competition, the 2004 Clarkson University Winter Knights hope to place higher then previous years with new goals and objectives outlined for this year's team. The team will field a new 2004 Arctic-Cat T660 Trail (Turbo) as backbone before modifications are performed.

The goal is to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or improving stock fuel consumption and performance characteristics. The team will modify the stock exhaust and intake system, looking both to reduce emissions and sound emitted from the motor.

In addition, a five-gas analyzer will be used, following the EPA five-gas mode analysis under simulated load conditions, to monitor the reduction in emissions from the modifications as compared to the stock setup.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge is a great competition for our students to be involved in, said Fred Stone, director of the SPEED Program and team advisor. "It gives Clarkson students an opportunity to work on a team-oriented project with real design challenges, and also helps find solutions to some of the problems associated with snowmobile use within our own community and throughout the country."

The team has worked hard designing and fabricating the modifications to the snowmobile for this year's competition with impressive results from the initial field-testing, added Stone. "I was impressed when I saw the sled run recently. I stood about 25 feet from the sled when the team drove past at wide-open throttle — all I heard was the snow cracking under the skis."

During the competition, teams are required to demonstrate the effectiveness of the reengineered snowmobiles. Participants are judged on acceleration, cold-start testing, fuel economy/range, and oral and written designs. Emissions testing and noise measurement of the teams' snowmobiles versus a stock 2002 Arctic Cat 660 four-stroke snowmobile are also important parts of the competition.

Clarkson's Clean Snowmobile Challenge team is one of the University's SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) programs, which promotes multidisciplinary, project-based learning opportunities. SPEED projects involve more than 250 undergraduates annually in engineering design and analysis, fabrication, and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork, and communication skills. The SPEED program is one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives promoting the "Vision of a Clarkson Education" through experiential learning by hands-on application of academic theory toreal-world problems.

SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, the General Electric Fund, and Procter & Gamble. SPEED was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award and the 2002 Corporate and Foundation Alliance Award for its exceptional contributions to improving undergraduate engineering education.

Photo caption: Snowmobile team members (front left-right) Mike Foster, Stephen Lupi and Tyler Wlodyka work to attach the oil pan to the bottom of the engine. Teammate Anthony Lorence (rear) examines the cavity where the power plant will sit.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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