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Utah State University
Utah State University engineering students took second place overall at the 2017 Human Powered Vehicle Challenge in Las Vegas. The challenge was organized through the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

LOGAN — Mechanical engineering students from Utah State University competed against 23 other teams and won second place overall in the 2017 Human Powered Vehicle Challenge.

The competition took place in March at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The USU team also placed first in the women’s speed event, third in the men’s speed event and second in the endurance event.

The team designed and manufactured a “tadpole-style” full carbon fiber recumbent trike. Tadpole-style trikes are designed with two wheels in front and one in the rear.

The majority of the frame was constructed from circular tubes that were custom-wound by the team to make a very stiff but lightweight frame. Each tube was then linked together using lugs made from a 3-D printed mold, an innovative manufacturing method that is rarely used in the cycling industry.

Coupling their frame design with strategic component selection allowed the team to garner in excess of a 35 percent weight reduction over last year’s vehicle.

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“The low center of gravity and wide wheelbase of their design was particularly well-suited to the head-to-head speed event that led to nearly a dozen rollovers by other competitors in the tighter corners of the course,” Jackson Graham, faculty adviser for the USU team and a professional practice instructor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said in statement.

Challenge events, which aim to create future leaders in alternative transportation engineering, are organized around the world through the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.