Clarkson Profs Design Luge For Next Olympics

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As the U.S. luge team competes in Sochi, Russia, Clarkson University researchers are improving the sled for use in the next Winter Olympics.

Two engineers from Clarkson are designing a faster, more aerodynamic and comfortable sled for the team, which it hopes to use at the 2018 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Mechanical engineering professors Douglas Bohl and Brian Helenbrook are using computer models and wind tunnels to speed up the sled, reduce drag and find ways to make the vehicle more comfortable, including more space for the hands and legs.

“If the athlete fits well and can be comfortable in the sled, the overall performance will improve too,” Bohl said.

Bohl got involved after his now 16-year-old son tried out for the USA Luge development team. Bohl met sports programs director and two-time Olympic medalist Mark Grimmette, at which point he proposed the idea for a research project to reduce aerodynamic drag on the sled.

When finished, Bohl said the luge will be the first designed in a computer model; in the past all luge were handcrafted.

In the photo are, from left, Olympian Erin Hamlin, Duncan Kennedy of the United States Luge Association, Bohl, grad student Brian Heckendorf, and Helenbrook.

See the news release.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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