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UC mechanical engineering project putting tents to the test

UC mechanical engineering project putting tents to the test

July 4, 2013

The University of Canterbury (UC) is carrying out tests on Kathmandu tents to see how they cope in extreme New Zealand weather conditions.

A team of five final-year UC mechanical engineering students are conducting lengthy analysis at New Zealand field weather stations around the country. They are coordinating the records from the field stations and producing detailed information regarding wind speeds, water fall, snowfall, and UV radiation exposure.

UC mechanical engineering supervising lecturer Dr Sid Becker says the team will develop full scale testing equipment and protocols that will aid the Kathmandu design team.

``We anticipate that by the end of this year we will have an actual prototype of a tent testing apparatus that can subject some of the Kathmandu tent range to extreme winds exceeding 100 kilometres an hour.

``Our research team has had an amazing time learning how to use their mechanical engineering skills to test commercial products such as tents. Importantly, the team has been exposed to real world inter-action within the administration, design, and marketing of one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised brands.

``They have had to interpret weather data to consider for tent testing. They needed to find out how extremely harsh New Zealand weather conditions impacted on a tent’s resilience and ability.

``The team developed ways of predicting how tents would respond. This involved months’ of work in the developing computer and mathematical models. Effectively the team had to create computational fluid dynamic models of the weather and couple these to finite element models of the tent.

``I am very proud of this team for their creativity and dedication. I can’t wait to see the final results. It is possible that this team has spearheaded an international collaboration during this real life challenge.’’

Dr Becker says Kathmandu has been extremely supportive of the UC research work.


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