By Associated Press - Saturday, August 1, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A professional street luger from Columbus is enlisting the help of five Ohio State University students to help him break a world record.

David Dean has won two street luge world titles, but now wants to be the first luger to go 100 mph, The Columbus Dispatch reported ( July 20.

“It’ll be a unique experience,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever gone faster than low 80s.”

Street luge is an extreme sport where racers lie on their backs on a board with wheels and race down a hilly road. The sleds can run on gravity, jets or turbines.

Dean, an Ohio State University alumnus, worked with a group of OSU engineering students over two semesters to help him modify his sled.

He presented his proposal to Bob Rhoads, the capstone-program coordinator for multidisciplinary engineering, and Cliff Whitfield, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. They then offered it to capstone students.

“It’s a great project from an engineering standpoint,” Rhoads said.

Dino Celli, an aerospace-engineering student, said the team read a rule book, watched online videos and met with Dean to learn about the sport. None of the students knew much about street luge going in.

The students added a rear fairing to the design to minimize wind drag, a nose cone to create a smoother flow, and a chest piece to minimize resistance. They tested it through simulation software and in a wind tunnel using a dummy.

“When you actually see the simulation match what happens in the wind tunnel, that’s very exciting,” Celli said.

Blackhawk Composites, an aerospace manufacturing company in Kentucky, plans to test the modifications soon.

Bill Smrtic, a fellow street luger and a partner in Blackhawk, said the company is debating whether a new sled incorporating the modifications should be built.

“This would be a very revolutionary design in the sport,” he said. “It would be a game changer.”


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,

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