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Former Wisbech student in submarine races

A team of eight engineering Masters students at the University of Warwick, which includes a former Wisbech student, are designing and building a fold-away submarine to compete in an international competition.

Rupert Barnard, formerly of Wisbech, is a member of the ‘Warwick Sub’ team which now looking for sponsors to help them cover the costs of entering the International Submarine Races, which takes place in Maryland, USA in June.

The biggest issue is solving how to transport the human-powered submarine across the Atlantic with minimum funding. Fully assembled, the submarine is too big to fit inside a standard packing crate making air freight travel very expensive.

Project Leader Richard Freeman explained; ‘We have managed to reduce flight costs by designing a ‘fold away’ submarine; the chassis can be dismantled into four separate sections and can be packed up into a far smaller crate; however, we still have the task of raising enough money to cover our competition entry fees and for the team’s transport to the USA.

“We are optimistic given the exciting nature of the project that our new and future sponsors will help us realise our goal.”

Rupert said: “The project has been going incredibly well. Our designs have been finalised and we are now getting underway with manufacturing the components. Our plans are pretty ambitious, but we have a lot to live up to since last year’s team came fourth overall in the competition and second in the UK.”

The team’s main objective has been to improve the submarine’s hydrodynamic efficiency. The streamlined hull, inspired by a unique hydrofoil design should enable the submarine to travel at far greater speeds. The team are also using the races as a chance to explore the capabilities of green materials and have secured sponsorship to manufacture the hull from a flax fibre composite.

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