ASME sponsors human-powered submarine competition Author: RP news wires
High school and university students from across North America will be gathering in the San Diego area in July to put their design skills to the test in the Human Powered Submarine Competition.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers' San Diego section and the San Diego chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Oceanic Engineering Society are sponsoring the event. It is scheduled to be held July 19-23 at the Offshore Modeling Basin in Escondido, Calif., a research and design facility for submersible vehicles, devices and structures. High Tech High, a non-profit organization that aims to improve K-12 education programs throughout California, is also sponsoring the competition.
The rules for the competition are simple: Design, build, and race a submersible that is human-powered and complies with the competition's safety regulations. The loosely defined set of design constraints encourages students to be creative with their submarines.
Propulsion designs for the devices have ranged from having no mechanical parts to more complicated, gear-driven counter-rotating propeller designs. Control systems have also ranged in complexity from large mechanically operated fins to some highly sophisticated drive-by-wire control mechanisms.
Submarines compete on a straight course in a 48-foot-wide by 15-foot-deep modeling basin. The student teams are given a period of time for acceleration before they enter the course. At that point, the subs will pass through a set of timing gates and results will be recorded.
Past competitions have brought about some interesting race results, including the team from Virginia Tech setting a Guinness Book world record for fastest one-person, non-propeller-driven submarine.
In addition to the speed race, competitors can score points in other categories, including safety, design presentation, innovation, design, construction, and operation. An overall engineering award is presented at the conclusion of the competition and is based on a weighted average of the scores in the safety, innovation, design, construction, and operation categories.