Three ERC Teams Compete in Parker Chainless Challenge Teams and One Takes First Place

Achievement date: 

Students affiliated with the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at the University of Minnesota, participated in a competition requiring teams of undergraduates to design and build  bicycles using fluid power as their main method of power transmission.



In addition to the challenge of propelling a bicycle without chains, a range of other technical capabilities must be demonstrated during the competition. Preparations for these demonstrations hone student skills in a variety of ways, leading to better understanding of not only fluid-power technologies but also how to innovate, manufacture, and market new products in a competitive environment.


The Parker Chainless Challenge is a national inter-university competition sponsored by Parker Hannifin, a corporate member of the CCEFP. The competition includes three race events: a distance race, a 200-meter sprint race, and an efficiency challenge during which only stored energy can be used to power the bicycle. Three universities represented CCEFP in the 2013 competition, which was held in Irvine, CA, during April 2013. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) took first place overall in the competition (see figure); teams from Purdue University and the University of Minnesota also participated.