Design team harnesses human power

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On April 25, 2006

A group of students at the University of Missouri-Rolla is combining human power with technical ingenuity on a quest to maintain its reputation as one of the best “super bike” teams in the nation.         

UMR is competing against other university teams this spring in two challenges featuring human-powered vehicles. The West Coast Challenge will be held April 28-30 at California Polytechnical Institute in San Luis Obispo. The East Coast Challenge is scheduled for May 5-7 at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. The events are sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.         

Whitney Joseph prepares for one of last year’s races.

Each team’s vehicle is actually a recumbent bike with an aerodynamic shell. During competitions, teams are judged in the following areas: sprints, endurance tests, design reports and oral presentations.         

“It’s neat coming into a team, producing a professional project, and winning,” says Whitney Joseph, a sophomore who helps design the UMR bike and is also one of the team’s riders. “We’re very well respected at the competitions.” 

In fact, UMR has won the East Coast competition four straight years. They have also done well in the West Coast event.                                              

“Our reputation gives us confidence,” Joseph says, “but it also adds pressure.”         

The faculty advisor to the UMR team is Dr. Pedro Silva, an assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering. Members of the 2006 UMR Human-Powered Vehicle Team are:

– Todd Acinelli, a senior in computer engineering from St. Louis

– M. Elliot Atwell, a junior in aerospace engineering from Kansas City, Mo.

– Jerrod Bouchard, a senior in mechanical engineering from Camdenton, Mo.

– Craig George, a sophomore in electrical engineering from St. Joseph, Mo.

– Tom Hill, a freshman in mechanical engineering from St. Louis

– Whitney Joseph, a sophomore in engineering management from O’Fallon, Ill.

– Julie Orlich, a senior in architectural engineering from Kansas City, Mo.

– Kyle Rackers, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Jefferson City, Mo.

– Andrew Rucker, a senior in civil engineering from Springfield, Mo.

– Eric Sommer, a sophomore in aerospace engineering from O’Fallon, Mo.

– Andrew Sourk, a sophomore in aerospace engineering from St. Joseph, Mo.

– David Weese, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Maryville, Mo.

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On April 25, 2006. Posted in News