Pair to study luge design

Pictured are professors Doug Bohl, left, and Brian Helenbrook. Clarkson University photo

POTSDAM — Clarkson University Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Professors Doug Bohl and Brian Helenbrook have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the performance of the aerodynamics of luge sleds used by U.S. athletes in national and international competitions, including the Olympic Games. As a collaborator, AeroWorks LLC will spearhead the computational analysis.

The evolution of luge equipment ranges from sleds were developed by former athletes and was hand-shaped based on hunches, feel, and experience. Gradually since 2009, the process has become increasingly modernized. A big jump in this modernization will come in the form of utilizing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). AeroWorks developed a process that leverages adjoint solutions to optimize the complex aerodynamic features of the luge sled. The research team will employ the adjoint based optimization to find efficient aerodynamic shapes for the performance desired, such as enhanced lift or reduced drag.

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