Human-powered submarine gets 3M treatment


  • Human-powered submarine gets 3M treatment

    A human-powered submarine being built by students at the University of Warwick will have its chances in a global contest boosted thanks to 3M.

    The science-based technology company is sponsoring the team of engineering undergraduate finalists ahead of the International Submarine Races (ISR), which will be held in the US in June.

    The WarwickSub team has tasked 3M with boosting HPS-Godiva 3's chances in the competition and making it the best-looking contender.

    The submarine's 2.8-metre-long hull spent two weeks at 3M's state-of-the-art Automotive Refinish Centre (ARC) in Atherstone, Warwickshire, in May.

  • 3M engineering technician Clive Cooch and 3M applications engineer James Cavalot dedicated their full attention to the submarine during its stay, working on the project full-time.

    They began by filling in small holes in the bodywork, using the 3M Dynamic Mixing System to give a high-quality finish.

    Next, Clive and James smoothed down the surfaces using 3M brand Cubitron brand abrasives, which feature precision-shaped grains, helping them to slice cleaner and faster.

    Using the 3M brand PPS brand Paint Preparation System, they then applied an undercoat of primer.

    After using 3M abrasives to remove any final imperfections, Clive and James sprayed the hull in dazzling blue and orange paint, again using 3M PPS.

    To achieve the ultimate finish, they then polished the vessel using products from the 3M brand Perfect-It brand Finishing Materials range.

    Already, the hull itself had been made using a resin filled with 3M glass bubbles to create maximum buoyancy.

  • 3M's Scotch-Weld EPX Adhesive DP490 has also been used to glue aluminium mounting plates, which will hold some internal components, onto the recycled carbon fibre hull.

    3M also provided the team with personal protective equipment (PPE) to use throughout the project, including respirators, safety eyewear, coveralls and ear plugs.

    The WarwickSub team recognised the need for PPE that was both adequate to protect against the hazards they faced and suitable for the wearers as individuals.

    As a company with decades of experience creating innovative personal safety solutions, from respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to fall protection equipment (FPE), 3M was able to provide PPE that matched the team's specific requirements, keeping them both protected and comfortable.

    James said: "3M's experts are always looking for the next challenge, so when the WarwickSub team approached us with this unusual and exciting project we couldn't wait to get involved. We love putting our expertise, skills and products to the test.

    "What's more, the WarwickSub team have come up with some really innovative solutions of their own, so we hope our input will help them to blow the competition out of the water."

    Michael Andronicou, WarwickSub business development manager, added: "3M are one of our fundamental sponsors and their support is pivotal to this project.

    "We're incredibly lucky to have their enormous range of products at our disposal, but their vast expertise has been just as vital.

    "Every time we've asked them for help with a particular technical problem, it's turned out they've got a product tailor-made for exactly the issue we've been struggling with, along with all the know-how.

    "Thanks to 3M, Godiva 3 is definitely going to be the best-looking submarine on the grid, and we're confident we'll be a strong contender in the competition, too."

    Last year's WarwickSub team ,also sponsored by 3M, won the Best Design Report award at the European International Submarine Races (eISR), which were held in Gosport.

    This year's entrants will face global competition in the ISR, which will take place in Washington DC from 25 to 30 June.

    Their single-person, pedal-powered submarine will compete in a 100-metre straight-line race, travelling at a depth of between five and 10 metres, while also being judged on a range of design factors.

    3M, Cubitron, PPS, Perfect-It and Scotch-Weld are trademarks of 3M Company.


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