The 2018 edition of UBC Okanagan’s entry to the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race is into its final preparations for the three-day event hosted this year by the University of Waterloo. A thirty-person contingent primarily made up of civil and mechanical engineering students, along with some science students, is looking to improve on the team’s second place finish in 2014 and 2015.
“We think it will be a good year” says Team President Danielle Kennedy, “test day is always a good indication of how the event will go and we had no issues.”
The toboggan in this year’s competition is a completely new concept as the team elected to change everything from the sled’s shape, skis and braking systems.
The steel frame along with the siding, steering, skis and braking system weighs 350lbs and carries five riders. The concrete skies in the competition must utilize 30% Portland Cement, and the UBCO skies also include sustainable mixtures using recycled aggregate, biochar and baling twine. The team is especially excited about the new rack-and-pinion steering system and a new innovative braking design that will utilize a brake lever in the sled that drops adjustable braking blades.
“The design, development and building process takes about 11-months culminating in our test runs at Big White in early January” explains Kennedy.
Following last year’s race, the team thoroughly reviewed their winning designs from past competitions and did lots of testing before deciding upon a new design that they hope will put them back on the podium.
“We start the design process a week or two after returning from the competition” says Kennedy “then triple-check our geometry while combining the components; with construction starting in earnest in September.”
Unlike some teams in the international competition, the UBC Okanagan sled is designed and built in-house. “We really appreciate the support and assistance the technicians from the School of Engineering provide” says Kennedy. “They are always psyched to help and make the process really efficient and smooth.”
“Every year our students design sleds that are faster and more efficient” says Engineering Assistant Professor Ahmad Rteil, who is also the team’s faculty advisor. “I am very excited to see how they do this year.”
The team is grateful to their sponsors who enable the team to field a competitive sled every season.
The 2018 Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race Competition starts Wednesday. For news about the team and its results visit https://ubcognctr.wordpress.com/, https://www.facebook.com/ubcognctr/ and https://gnctr2018.ca/.