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Success for UW-Madison Engineering Teams
May 8, 2008

The University of Wisconsin-Madison formula car, concrete canoe, and steel bridge teams excelled in competitions.

The UW-Madison Formula SAE team raced to first place at the inaugural Virginia International Raceway competition. This was the first Formula SAE event to incorporate a road course that included significant elevation changes.

The UW-Madison team, which received funding from the United Wisconsin Grain Producers, piloted its one-third-scale Indy-style car to victory while awing the spectators with unmatchable lap times. The car was the only vehicle of 43 at the competition to run on E85 fuel.

In addition to winning the overall event, the team captured first place in autocross, endurance, sales and design. The team will travel to the world championship at the Michigan International Speedway. Its adviser is mechanical engineering faculty associate Glenn Bower.

The Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Teams earned resounding victories at the ASCE Great Lakes regional competition.

The UW-Madison Concrete Canoe Team is the reigning world champion, after its international win in the Netherlands last August. This year, the UW-Madison team won every race at the regional competition, hosted by the University of Evansville, Indiana. Eleven teams competed in the women’s endurance, men’s endurance, women’s sprint, men’s sprint and co-ed sprint races.

The canoe will make its next appearance at the national competition in Montreal, Canada, June 19-21, 2008. The team’s adviser is civil and environmental engineering associate professor Chin Wu.

The UW-Madison Steel Bridge Team also boasted a win at the University of Evansville with a construction time of 7.825 minutes, significantly faster than the next best construction time of about 13 minutes by the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Additionally, the UW-Madison team designed the most economical bridge with an estimated cost of a little more than $2 million.

Steel Bridge co-chair Alex Pschorr, a civil engineering student, attributes the team’s success to practice.

The Steel Bridge Team will travel to the University of Florida-Gainesville for the national competition May 23-24, 2008. Last year, the team placed third. Its adviser is College of Engineering associate dean for academic affairs and professor of civil and environmental engineering Steve Cramer.

At home in Madison, the Human Powered Vehicle team hosted the three-day regional ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. Twenty-four teams from around the country – and one from Venezuela – brought a variety of bicycle-like vehicles to courses set up around the Madison area.

The competition consisted of three races, including a 100-meter sprint race, 65-kilometer endurance race and a utility race, held in various locations in the Madison area. Assistant professor of mechanical engineering and the Human Powered Vehicle faculty adviser Frank Pfefferkorn says ASME and the judges offered “heaps of praise” for the committee of team members who organized the event.

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