The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) is a design competition for engineering students. The program offers both graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to apply classroom learning. Teams are asked to re-engineer existing, commercially-available snowmobile components with the goal of reducing the machines’ emissions and fuel consumption, as well as reducing noise. Teams take their completed snowmobiles to the Keweenaw Research Center (a multidisciplinary research center of Michigan Technological University) in Houghton, Michigan for the annual Challenge, held each March, and compete in a variety of events.
Clarkson University’s SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) team has been competing in the Clean Snowmobile Challenge since 2001. In 2020, they earned a first-place finish in the Diesel Utility Class, in addition to other honors. The 2019-20 team consisted of 25 students, most of them mechanical engineering majors but with a few representatives from Engineering and Management, chemical engineering and civil engineering.
The team started building their snowmobile in the summer of 2019. Because it was to be entered in the utility class, the team was required to modify a marketed utility chassis. Sponsor Polaris Industries donated a 2018 Polaris Titan Adventure chassis. The student designers faced engineering challenges such as modifying the transmission and outfitting the engine with a custom catalytic converter and filters—as well as the challenge of fitting an industrial-size engine in a production snowmobile.
Fitting the large engine into the chassis involved modifying its pyramid. Because Polaris uses LORD 406 acrylic adhesive in combination with LORD Accelerator 19 to bond chassis members, the Clarkson team also decided to use LORD products—in this case LORD 406 and 403 acrylic adhesives—for their bonding needs, because of the adhesives’ proven performance. To support the team, LORD donated 403 and 406 adhesives as well as a dispensing gun. The team was redesigning the pyramid structure of a Polaris snowmobile that utilizes the 406 acrylic adhesive, and wanted to continue to utilize it to maintain structural integrity with the new design.
Our fast lead times meant the snowmobile could be produced and assembled in less than three weeks. This gave the team ample time to test and repair their system before the competition. Having the extra time paid off, because the team was able to not only take home the first place overall award in the diesel class, but won awards for “best design” and lowest in service emissions performance. In fact, the Clarkson team achieved the lowest emissions score of any diesel ever tested at the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge!