College teams gather for annual sled challenge

Clarkson University of Potsdam, N.Y., captured first place in the 2012 Society of Automotive Engineers Clean Snowmobile Challenge, which drew to a close March 10 at Michigan Technological University.

Kettering University, of Flint, Mich., placed second, with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville earning third place in the internal-combustion category. The University of Alaska-Fairbanks won the zero-emissions category.

College students at the Clean Snowmobile Challenge reengineer a stock snowmobile and compete in a variety of categories. Arctic Cat, BRP, Polaris and Yamaha sponsor the event.

The Clean Snowmobile Challenge, which completed its 13th year, is a collegiate design competition of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Engineering students from participating schools reengineer a stock snowmobile, while preserving the riding quality demanded by snowmobile enthusiasts. A total of 12 university teams participated in the internal combustion category.

The Challenge’s zero emissions category, for battery-powered sleds, is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. NSF uses electric snowmobiles while conducting atmospheric research in pristine arctic locations. The electric or zero emissions challenge is running up to 20 miles with one battery charge. Five teams participated in the zero emissions category.

Awards were presented for recognizing the best balance between cost, fuel economy, performance, design, handling and acceleration.

The event is sponsored by Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center and the school’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

The members of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (Arctic Cat, BRP, Polaris and Yamaha) are gold-level sponsors.

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