Engineering students from the School of Engineering, University of Lincoln, helped to raise approximately £16,000 for Macmillan Cancer by designing and putting together a pedal-powered boat for the ‘Mercmillan Challenge’.

On Saturday 21st July 2018, a quadcycle (two tandem bicycles joined together in parallel) was ridden by staff from Mercedes-Benz of Boston to the Brayford Pool, Lincoln. At the pool the quad cycle was mated up to provide power for a four hulled propeller driven boat which was ridden along the River Witham back to Boston.

The feat was initiated by staff from Mercedes-Benz of Boston and used the quadcycle and a boat designed and engineered in collaboration with members of the University’s Engineering Society.

Adam and Michael from the society were on hand throughout the day to ensure the smooth-sailing of the voyage and spent the last academic year designing and constructing the boat, conducting test runs earlier in the year, despite the freezing cold weather conditions.

The ‘Mercmillan Challenge’ is an example of the University’s mission to produce industry ready graduates by providing interesting, real life challenges of a practical nature. This particular fundraising project is just one instance of an ongoing project which started with a mechanical engineering study to understand the complexities of trying to break the human powered world water speed record held by MIT since 1991. The industry support for this MEng project was given by EPM Technology in Derby and this opened a link to North One TV, makers of the “Speed with Guy Martin” series, who have used EPM for some of their specialised designs.

Following this, the School of Engineering were invited to make a programme with its students to attempt to break this longstanding record based on hydrofoil boat designs. This was not a trivial task given that the best technologies had already been applied by MIT and hence the design from the Master’s students incorporated high tech materials in carbon fibre, and both hydrofoil and ecranoplan (ground effect wing) designs to reduce drag on the boat.

The School of Engineering would like to give thanks to the following companies for their support and dedication to this student project:

  •        Special new pre-impregnated carbon fibre materials came from SHD
  •        Hull forms and manufacture was supported by MTAG
  •        The Tow trailer was made by Hindles of Lincoln who also water jet cut the carbon fibre ribs for the ecranoplan
  •        Siemens provided design and financial support
  •        Testing was in the quiet and safety of Burton Waters who also provided safety boats
  •        Safety training was by the RNLI and participating students all achieved power boat licences
  •        Final runs were supported by the Sea Cadets in Lincoln with the permission of the Brayford Trust Harbour master and the Canals and Rivers Trust
  • Technical staff in the school of engineering provided support to allow the project to procure specially designed 3D printed propellers and thrust shrouds imperative to increasing the efficiency of the drive train

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