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Date: March 18, 2008

UVic Students Win National Engineering Competition

ThrusterUVic engineering students won the innovation category at the Canadian Engineering Competition with their miniature thruster for underwater vehicles. For the second year in a row, University of Victoria engineering students are the winners of the innovation category at the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC).

Electrical engineering students David Shea and Brian Claus, and mechanical engineering students Toren Gustafson and Peter Crocker, grabbed the title with their miniature thruster for underwater vehicles. The low-cost but highly efficient underwater thruster would be used to propel research vehicles.

“Traditional thrusters have a housing in front of the propeller which contains a motor,” Shea explains. “However, we’ve integrated the motor into the propeller and shroud, therefore ending the need for a separate motor and housing, and also eliminating the drag or resistance that the motor and its housing create. The technical term would be a ‘rim-driven’ design. In addition, our thruster only has one moving part in the entire design which means it’s easy to produce and inexpensive to buy and maintain.”

The thruster is receiving a lot of interest from the underwater and oil and gas industries. Currently, the students are in the process of obtaining a patent through UVic’s technology transfer office.

The thruster is a spin-off project from the University of Victoria Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Design Team (AUVic). AUVic (www.engr.uvic.ca/~auv) is a group of computer, electrical, mechanical, and software engineering students which is actively involved in building an autonomous underwater vehicle—a submersible robot that is capable of completing intelligent tasks without aid from human operators.

The CEC is an annual event attended by 150 engineering students from across Canada.
It promotes communication, design, and ingenuity—encouraging students to develop their professional skills in a competitive environment. The event also fosters an important link between Canadian engineering students, industry, government and academia. This year’s competition took place at the University of Waterloo earlier this month. For more information visit www.cec2008.ca.
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Media contacts:
David Shea (Engineering) at 250-886-3067 or dshea@uvic.ca
Maria Lironi (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139, cell 250-213-1705 or lironim@uvic.ca

Photos page:
UVic Students Win National Engineering Competition Images

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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