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The Human Powered Submarine Team: MU's Best Kept Secret

Persistent and creative; these are just two of the words Dr. Chris Erickson uses to describe the Human Powered Submarine Team. “Stick to it; that’s us,” He said.

Dr. Erickson has been advisor to the team since January along with Dr. Wright. The team started 19 years ago by Dr. Hauck and a team of students. Since then, the team has gone to competitions in such places as San Diego and West Palm Beach. The current submarine design consists of two hulls that are each approximately 36 inches round and seven feet long. Both hulls are made out of polycarbonate. By using this material, the submarine will be almost entirely transparent. “The two hulls are joined in the middle by the Voith Schneider Propeller, which is a revolutionary propeller design allowing for efficiency and maneuverability,” junior and lead designer Zachary Cohen said. He us a Technology Education major.

Voith Turbo, an international engineering company which has their United States headquarters in York, Pennsylvania, has worked with the team for the past year on the design and optimization in both the submarine and the propeller system. “This gives us an amazing opportunity alongside their managers and designers both here in Pennsylvania and at their headquarters in Heidenheim, Germany,” Cohen said.

The team and the submarine compete in the International Submarine Races. “At the competition we compete among numerous other teams consisting of colleges, high schools or private programs from all over the world in multiple races,” Cohen said.

The current competition is comprised of races in which all the submarines travel against the clock and other submarines. “The competitions gives the students a chance to show the school in a positive light, interact with other schools, and allows for the creative utilization of new technologies,” Dr. Erickson said.

The competition is currently held in Bethesda, Maryland at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. “It s a friendly environment,” Dr. Erickson said. “We can all enjoy and learn from it.”

The team currently has 15 active members. “I think it’s always been something that lets the student do research and go above and beyond the curriculum,” Dr. Erickson said. “It’s encouraging students to push their own limits.”

Anyone who is interested in joining the team can come to any meeting and there are no dues or fees. General meetings are Mondays at 3 p.m. in Osburn 216 with work time Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in Osburn 203.