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Engineering students gear up to build a human-powered submarine

17 March 2013

Engineering students at the University of Warwick have set themselves a challenge to design and build a human-powered submarine.

The team of eight students plan to complete the submarine, called HPS Shakespeare, in time to race against competitors in the European International Submarine Race 2014.

The competition will take place in Gosport, England from the 7 – 11 July 2014. The submarines will be tested for speed, design and performance and there are additional prizes for top speed. The Warwick team is aiming to beat the speed record of 8.09mph, currently held by a team in Montreal.

The submarine is an undergraduate project and the first challenge for the Warwick team, which includes members from across the globe from Brazil to Bromsgrove, is to raise enough sponsorship to manufacture HPS Shakespeare.

The student team includes Cole Soutter, Ben Tomita, Hasan Bagash, Moyses Ferreira, Jamie Smith, Till Pinto, Jacky Wong and Richard Woodward.

Team member Cole Soutter said: “There are a multitude of challenges we face in the design, manufacture and testing of the submarine as well as organisational aspects such as sponsorship and costing. But the biggest challenge is putting it all together to produce a submarine that has both speed and manoeuvrability to take on competitors whilst having the agility to navigate the slalom course. We hope our entry emerges victorious in the race and in at least one of the award categories for speed, agility and innovation.”

Working closely with fellow competitors at Bath University, the students have established a strong partnership allowing them to learn from one another and manufacture a winning submarine. The Sub Aqua Society at the University of Warwick has also offered the team advice on diving.

The team is supervised by Dr Ian Tuersley at WMG, who is pleased with the team’s activities and efforts so far and comments on the project.

He said: “The group project that they undertake aims to get students from the various engineering disciplines working together – much as they would need to in real industries and businesses after graduation. These ‘design and build’ competitions provide an additional incentive to produce a functional, finished product within set constraints and to an enforced deadline. Warwick’s engineering students have done very well in other, similar competitions in recent years and we are hoping for a good result with this as well”.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the team should email

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