Snowspeed: World's First Snow Sledge That Can Go At 155mph

Posted: Feb 18 2016, 1:09pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Snowspeed: World's First Snow Sledge That Can Go At 155mph
Credit: BBC
  • Norwegian engineers develop ‘Snowspeed’ a snow sledge with a speed of 155mph!

The three engineers are currently testing the snow sledge and aim to break the world record for snow sledge speed.

Three Norwegian engineers have developed a snow sledge to achieve a speed of 15mph. The engineers aim to break the current world speed record for a gravity-powered snow sledge.

Currently the record is set at 83mph (134km/h) for the speed of a snow sledge. According to the engineers they will beat the record by almost 70 mph. One of the engineers is Jorn Madslien and he claims the first step for them is making sure the sledge has the right shape.

The other two members of the team are Nima Shahinian and Tom Rudd. The sledge is currently being tested at the Toyota Motorsport's facility in Cologne, Germany. The testing ground is a high-performance testing and development facility is perfect for their purpose. 

The sledge is being tested by being placed on a ‘rolling road’. The rolling road simulates travel along an ordinary road. Snowspeed itself is black, sleek and streamlined, according to BBC.

The snow sledge is also adorned with strips of silver tape resembling the Formula 1 and Le Mans racing cars. Antonio Pavesi is in charge of the Toyota Motorsport facility. According to Pavesi this is the first time they have had a model of a snow sledge in their tunnels. 

The aimed for speed 155 mph (250 km/h) is faster than the terminal velocity of a free-falling skydiver. The team originally built three prototypes. One of the prototypes was a full-size sledge to determine the pilot's position.

A 25% clay model was also developed to recreate the shapes developed using 3D drawing programmes. The final and current one is a 50%-scale model. The latest model was built specifically for testing in the wind tunnel.

The wind tunnel will investigate the sledge's aerodynamic performance. The tunnel will be generating a strong wind that passes over, under and alongside the sledge.

The base of the skis of the sledge has been covered in Teflon to simulate minimal friction so it remains static. The sledge is also attached to a strut connected with the ceiling.

The attached strut contains hundreds of pressure sensors. The pressure sensors are responsible for gathering data. The actuators which move the model during testing also gather data. The sensors gather the crucial information about how the sledge responds to the wind. 

A special type of paint is also applied which runs with the wind. The paint creates streaks and patterns which demonstrates the turbulence and flow of the sledge. The entire testing process is also filmed and photographed for analysis later on.

According to the team although they don’t know much about the sledge some aspects are a given. For starters the front end of the sledge has broad shoulders and flat surface raised above the snow.

Such features provide a strong downforce on to the skis, which is a positive development. However the back of the sledge is still unstable and needs work.

The back needs to be stretched and flattened further to improve sideways stability. The team stated the current prototype would be uncontrollable at high speeds.

Nima the designer of the sledge believes they need to make it look more like a race car. The team will demonstrate their record breaking attempt at the world speed record next year.

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