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Engineering students race to simulate, create motorcycle for competition

From staff reports

A group of students and engineers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have designed and developed a racing motorcycle prototype that will complete against university teams from all over the world in the Moto Student Project.

The Moto Student Project is a challenge for university teams from around the world to create such a prototype with a small cylinder (125 cubic centimeters and 2 strokes). Within three semesters, competitors must demonstrate their creation and innovation capacity by completing a project under the same conditions often found in industry - working as a team, within a limited budget, with some minimum technical requirements, and a closed calendar as well as staying up-to-date with technologies, sponsors and companies in the sector.

The UC3M team recently presented a prototype in its initial construction phase. "This development phase to get it underway is going to be the most complicated but also the most rewarding because we have lots of ideas to test out on the motorcycle before presenting it for competition," said UC3M Technical Director Jose G. Perez Alonso.

Just as in any engineering project, the first step for the design of the prototype was observing actual models to understand the form and functioning of a racing motorcycle. Once the concepts were clear and the line of work well-defined, brainstorming sessions began and the initial sketches were made. The next step involved creating a virtual prototype model that would expose any possible faults or errors.

Once all of the parts were assembled, they began the first dynamic virtual 3-D simulations. Once the simulation was complete, the team began building the physical prototype. Soon its first sessions on the track will take place at the Circuito (Circuit) of Cartagena, where the team will evaluate the invention through a data collection system of its own design.

The objective of the teams taking part in this competition, sponsored by the Moto Engineering Foundation, is that the manufacturing cost for the 500 motorcycle units designed totals 4,500 Euros, although the value of the prototype is higher. This must include the engine, rims and tires, brake system for wheels, front fender, back muffler, chassis and swing arm.

"The main challenge has been to start from scratch, choosing an innovative design, without the constrictions of a traditional approach, with the goal of being able to unify the technical solutions which we think can offer us a competitive edge, and which, on the other hand, allow us to learn the most possible," Perez said. As result, he said, the team will have created a different but original motorcycle.

Perez, an industrial engineer, said he leads a team of students with a great deal of interest in making this adventure work. Yolanda Colás Escandon is one of them, and she is very excited to be able to wrap up her studies with this kind of work.

"It has been a great challenge, and I have learned many things, not only from the motorcycling point of view, but also from the engineering perspective", said Colás, a project coordinator for the team. "This project is now consolidated and it is producing very interesting concrete results."

The final competition will be held at the Ciudad del Motor (Motor City) in Aragon in early October, coinciding with the Campeonato de Espana de Velocidad (Spanish Speed Championship). The prize for the best project is 6,000 Euros.

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