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Ohio Northern University finishes fifth at human powered vehicle competition

May 24, 2013

The Ohio Northern University chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) captured fifth place at the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC) East competition at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., from April 26-28.

The top five finishers in the competition were Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Toronto, Kansas State University, and Ohio Northern University.

Human-powered transport is often the only type available in underdeveloped or inaccessible parts of the world and, if well designed, can be an increasingly viable form of sustainable transportation. ASME’s Human Powered Vehicle Challenge provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the application of sound engineering design principles in the development of sustainable and practical transportation alternatives. In the HPVC, students work in teams to design and build efficient, highly engineered vehicles for everyday use, from commuting to work to carrying goods to market. The competition events included a safety inspection, speed race, innovation showcase and a drag race. The competition also included written and oral presentations as well as an endurance race.

Human-powered vehicles must be strong, lightweight and aerodynamic, and finding the proper balance can be a challenge. The ONU vehicle was built using a lightweight steel frame and road-racing bicycle components. A sleek fiberglass shell helped it cut through the air. Manufactured with support from Trinity Motorsports Group in Lima, Ohio, the vehicle weighs 116 lbs. and is capable of reaching speeds of nearly 30 mph.

The mechanical engineering majors that competed were Dan Herting, a sophomore from Beavercreek Township, Ohio; Lance Rice, a freshman from Marion, Ohio; Jason Tropf, a junior from Findlay, Ohio; Ken Wachtel, a senior from West Chester, Ohio; Stephen Perkins, a junior from Findlay, Ohio; Brett Bomba, a senior from North Royalton, Ohio; and Morgan Sperry, a junior from Batavia, Ohio.

ONU’s ASME chapter advisers are Dr. Michael Rider, professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. David Sawyers, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

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