Human Powered Submarine TU Delft WASUB

Human Powered Submarine WASUB TU Delft


The Human Powered Submarine
WASUB // TU Delft DreamTeam

The WASUB team is a team of 21 students of Delft University of Technology who are designing, building and racing a human powered submarine. We will compete in the International Submarine Races from the 22th until the 26th June 2015.

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At the moment there are two main human powered submarine races that take place biannually: the ISR (international submarine races) and the EISR (European International Submarine Races). In 2013 the WASUB 3 team achieved a second fastest speed in the ISR, in 2014 the WASUB 4 team has competed at the EISR.

The first human-powered International Submarine Race TM (ISR) was held in 1989 at Singer Island off Riveria Beach, Florida and drew 17 boats. ISR 2 grew to 35 sub team entries in 1991. ISR 3 in 1993 off Ft. Lauderdale drew 44 submarine teams. The 1995 design competition, ISR 4, was the first in a controlled environment and was held at the NAVAL Surface Warface Center (NSWC) Carderock Division. NSWC Carderock has graciously hosted the races every other year since, and it has growth to 19 teams competing in 2013 with 21 boats entered.The Race

This is the race the current team, WASUB 5, will be attending in the summer of 2015. The ISR is a race that is all about speed. All teams are given the same distance to build up their speed after which the speed will be measured at a pair of time gates.

The European International Submarine Races challenges teams of university students to design, build and race human-powered submarines against the clock on an out-and-back course. The concept combines engineering design challenge with technical skill development and sets them in a unique and exciting sporting competition.

The basic rules of the sport are straightforward teams must design, build and race flooded submarines piloted by a single scuba diver, who must be fully enclosed within the hull of the machine. All propulsion power must be provided by the diver during the race (i.e. no energy storage devices such as flywheels or batteries are allowed), but otherwise the design rules are open to whatever innovation teams decide to use.

The resultant designs are submarines in the fullest sense of the word, minus the one constraint of watertight hull. The removal of that constraint ensures that the competition is about engineering innovation and sporting achievement, rather than just about waterproofing. Innovation comes in the design of the hulls to minimise drag and maximise thrust while optimising transmission systems to make best advantage of the pilots limited power production. The importance of buoyancy, trim and directional control is highlighted, and innovation encouraged. One-man propeller-powered submarines achieved speeds closing in on 7kts during the 2012 races, all on less than 600W input power.

The EISR is also about developing real, practical engineering skills. In the funding-constrained university environment, the practical elements of curricula have been replaced with theoretical calculation and computer modelling. A submarine big enough to contain a diver is a real, tangible machine, and the mechanisms have to produce and take real forces. At the same time, the challenge isnt so great that the students cant make the parts themselves this provides an invaluable learning experience as they see their CAD drawings come to real life.

Finally, the competition is about working as a team in a time-critical, adrenaline-charged atmosphere. During the build-up to the race, the students learn to exploit each others strengths, and design into their machines what they think they will need to succeed at the races. In initial testing, they learn where the weaknesses are, and make considered adjustments to their designs. Then, once they arrive on the racecourse, and really put their machines to the test, they invariably find new challenges, and have to bring out their engineering knowledge to find solutions on-the-fly with limited facilities. Such experience is invaluable to them later in their careers, regardless of the direction they take. THe Race

The race consists of a sprint followed by a u-turn and a slalom. As the main goal of the EISR is to produce more practical and real engineering skills there arent just awards for speed, but also innovation, best technical presentation and an overall award. The IESR takes place biannually at QinetiQs Ocean Basin testing facility at Haslar, Gosport, England.

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