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Pressure on to build human-powered submarine
WHEN engineering student Cole Soutter was offered the chance to design and build a human-powered submarine he dived right in.
Mr Soutter, 23, from Abingdon, is part of a Warwick University team getting the submarine, called HPS Shakespeare, ready to race against competitors in the European International Submarine Race in Gosport, Hampshire, in July 2014.
The submarines will be tested for speed, design and performance.
The first challenge for the Warwick team is to raise enough sponsorship to manufacture HPS Shakespeare, which could cost from £5,000 to £20,000.
The Warwick team is aiming to beat the human-powered submarine speed record of 8.09mph, currently held by a team in Montreal.
Mr Soutter, who is in the fourth year of his engineering degree, said: “This must be the most exciting project I have ever worked on.
“The submarine will be three metres long, 1.5 metres high, and a metre wide, and it will be powered by a diver inside, because there would be too many safety problems with creating a submarine with a pressure hull design.
“There are eight of us in the team and we all need to get some diving training – I will probably go down to the diving centre off Abingdon Road and see if I can join.”
Mr Soutter said the submarine was propelled by a cycle crank operated while the diver is lying down.
“That turns the transmission which spins the propeller,” he explained.
“We are now trying to decide what propellor we should use and put together the internal chassis. I’m looking forward to having a go in it once it’s built.”
Although Mr Soutter and his team-mates are designing the submarine, they will hand it over to another team to race. He added: “There are a multitude of challenges we face in the design, manufacture and testing of the submarine as well as organisational aspects such as sponsorship and costing.
“But the biggest challenge is putting it all together to produce a submarine that has both the speed and manoeuvrability to take on our competitors.
“We hope our entry emerges victorious in at least one of the award categories for speed, agility and innovation.”
The Sub Aqua Society at Warwick University has offered the team advice on diving.
The team is supervised by Dr Ian Tuersley, of the university’s school of engineering, said: “These design and build competitions provide an additional incentive to produce a functional, finished product within set constraints and to an enforced deadline.
“Warwick’s engineering students have done very well in other, similar competitions in recent years and we are hoping for a good result with this as well.”
- To find out more, see facebook.com/WarwickSub