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Clarkson Students Set To Compete In National Snowmobile Engineering Competition

[A photo for newspaper use is available at]

A team of Clarkson University students will compete against 13 U.S. and Canadian university teams in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge March 19-23 in Houghton, Mich.

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. Anthony Vitale, Andrew Heiligman, Stephen Lupi and Tyler Wlodyka

“We are very excited about the upcoming competition,” said sophomore and student team leader Tyler Wlodyka. “This will be the team’s third year attending the challenge. We have a great group of committed, enthusiastic students working on it this year and we are looking forward to competing.”

Each year, the Clean Snowmobile Challenge features new design challenges. This year, the Clarkson students had to reengineer the bottom half of the vehicle’s motor and to adapt a custom fuel injection system that would give users full control of the engine. The team’s final design utilizes an aftermarket fuel injection system coupled with a computer control system that allows the students to alter and monitor the engine from a laptop.

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 are also important parts of the competition.

“This is a great project for our students to be involved in,” said Ronald LaFleur, professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering and team adviser. “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.”

Environmental concerns over the negative effects of the noise and pollution generated by the widespread use of snowmobiles was a factor behind the creation of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

Clarkson’s Clean Snowmobile Challenge team is one of the University's SPEED (Students Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) programs that promote multidisciplinary project based learning opportunities for more than 250 undergraduates annually. SPEED projects involve engineering design and analysis, fabrication, and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork and communication skills. 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: Clarkson students (left to right) Anthony Vitale, Andrew Heiligman, Stephen Lupi and Tyler Wlodyka fine tune a snowmobile they have reengineered for reduced emissions and noise in preparation for an upcoming intercollegiate competition later this month.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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