RIT SAE Team Developing Snowmobile Using ANSYS

image001RIT Clean Snowmobile Team SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is a student organized team that is designing, building, and racing a low emissions and high efficiency snowmobile in the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge. The Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) is an engineering design competition for college and university students that challenges future engineers to redesign an existing snowmobile for reducing emissions and noise. The intent of the competition is to develop a snowmobile that is acceptable for use in environmentally sensitive areas, such as our National Parks and other pristine regions.

image004Many of the premature engine design was done using an extensive engine simulation software. This software was coupled with ANSYS SpaceClaim provided though ANSYS. CAD models of the engine were generated, but did not have the ability to be used in simulation. SpaceClaim was utilized for its excellent volume extraction process which was able to extract the flow volume of the CAD models thus making the model usable for simulation.

A majority of the challenge is based around the internal combustion engine. In order to be a competitive vehicle team in the CSC, a precision engine design is a must. The team has integrated different automotive technologies in preparation for the challenge including, a custom air intake system to increase air flow to the engine, a custom exhaust system and muffler to reduce noise, an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system to reduce NOx emission, a turbocharger to increase power output, and a custom calibration code.

ANSYS Forté was used to design a custom camshaft for the engine. Forté allowed the team to simulate either tailpipe emission before any camshafts were fabricated. Due to our limited resources, a custom camshaft was not used in the 2016 challenge but the work was not lost. The RIT Clean Snowmobile Team will use new software for further development of their emission control strategy. The team hopes to integrate custom camshafts along with custom pistons for reducing NOx, HC, and CO levels in their engine.


For the 2016 challenge the team also made modifications to their chassis. The original suspension, holding a 155” track, was changed out for a suspension holding a 144” track. The suspension change increased maneuverability and lowered the weight of the snowmobile. Custom mounting points were needed in order to accommodate the shorter track. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) was used to confirm that design was safe; and was in compliance with the SAE CSC rules. ANSYS mechanical was able to provide an accurate simulation for the part while being user friendly.

image007The 2016 challenge was hosted in Houghton, MI on March 7th thru March 12th at the Keweenaw Research Center. Despite only being founded in 2012, the RIT Clean Snowmobile Team was able to compete in the following events: Subjective Handling, Noise Testing, Acceleration, Lab Emissions, Cold Start and Objective Handling, while securing 1st place in Lab Emissions. The team is already preparing for the 2017 challenge by tearing down the 2016 competition snowmobiles, and validating simulations for future use such as various models in ANSYS Forté.

For more information please find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram. Please feel free to email our team at cleansnow@rit.edu as well.

This entry was posted in Academic, Guest Blogs by Eric Oswald. Bookmark the permalink.

About Eric Oswald

Eric Oswald is the current Project Manager of the RIT Clean Snowmobile Team SAE. The 2017 season will be his 3rd season with the team starting on fabrication his first year, moved up to Powertrain Design lead for the 2016 season. Eric is studying Mechanical Engineering Technology with a minor in Mathematics at Rochester Institute of Technology and is expect to graduate May 2018.

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