A team of University of Canterbury students claims to have built the world’s first 3D-printed titanium internal combustion engine.
It will be used to power what is claimed to be another world-first, a car created out of 100 percent recyclable, vacuum-formed thermoplastic built by the university last year.
The car with its 3D printed engine will be entered in the 2018 Shell Eco-marathon Asia in Singapore in March, which attracts over 100 teams from tertiary institutes around the Asia-Pacific region.
The goal is to achieve maximum fuel efficiency. The UC Eco-marathon car is designed to travel about 135km on 330ml of fuel (the fuel tank’s capacity), about 400km per litre.
The team will have to do much better than that to beat last year’s winner, in Manilla when a Thai team from Panjavidhya Technological College in Bangkok took first place in the Prototype category with the equivalent of 2,040 kilometres per litre, setting new event record for Asia.
Teams in Singapore will also compete for off-track awards for safety, vehicle design and technical innovation. In 2016 Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University won four out of five off-track awards including plaudits for its 3D-printed car, innovative marketing and attention to safety.
The leader of the Canterbury team, Robbie Murray said the team had worked to produce a competitive vehicle, that demonstrates fresh and forward-thinking ideas.
“We want to define who we are as New Zealanders, and our drive to create bold and innovative solutions to the problems with which we are faced.”