Tech Talk: students' insights and experience (Day  2)
Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Tech Talk: students' insights and experience (Day 2)


Every evening, races are followed by Tech Talks during which students share, oppose and compare their innovative ideas. Meeting with 3 teams of this second HYDROCONTEST: Ecole Centrale Nantes (France), ENSM Le Havre & ENSAM Lille (France) and Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malaysia).

Centrale Nantes sends for the first time a team to the HYDROCONTEST, as part of the ‘Ocean’ major. The students are specialised in hydrodynamics and the project was made possible thanks to the support of a PhD student in electronics and an alumni of the school for the design and development of novel tools. They also made good use of the school’s equipment in the form of a towing tank in which the team carried out its first tests, realizing that their heavyweight boat was not water-tight!

The lightweight boat originally included foils, but its design did not allow it to fly. However, the boat has obtained first place in Tuesday’s qualifications, probably thanks to the minimum wetted areadesign inspired by A class boats.

This first race is also an accomplishment of the electrician, who designed the system such that the motor’s power is used most efficiently. Thanks to HYDROCONTEST, the students have discovered that the competition is not only in the design of the boat, but also in electronics, mechanics and project management.




This year, ENSM Le Havre have decided to team up with Arts et Métiers Lille to take part in the HYDROCONTEST. The former have experience with boats and the maritime world, while the latter bring knowledge in design and multidisciplinary engineering. The team designed the boat in Le Havre as an extracurricular project, then tested and built it almost ‘100 % home-made’ in Lille. The project is very exciting and offers great opportunities for the professional future of the soon-to-be engineers, though they would like for it to be better integrated in the students’ curriculum, allowing them to be more competitive for 2016. In any case, the team wishes to continue the challenge of having only one boat for both categories because in the world of tomorrow, boats must be able to both navigate quickly while empty and carry heavy loads.

Based on the tests, the boat has a great robustness as demonstrated by its 27 consecutive laps. In the mean time, it is with great pride that the team presents a boat made with a 100% recyclable composite material, hoping to win the ‘HYDROCONTEST Innovation’ prize. Indeed, their boat could be a breakthrough concept and has led to the design of a new composite material, together with a producer of high-performance materials. Even though professional computational fluid dynamics programs do not currently include linen fibre, the team has taken the challenge of using a composite of this very light fibre and an elium Resin.




The USM team has decided to take part in the HYDROCONTEST for the first time this year. With knowledge in civil, mechatronic, electronic and aerospace engineering, it was a real challenge to learn everything about boats in trial-and-error mode and in after-class sessions. The team has chosen to conceive a trimaran to get the best performance possible in both light and mass transportation categories, with a particular ambition to serve Malaysia by finding a way to build multi-purpose boats for heavy transportation & rescue in natural disaster situations. The team is really proud of its catamaran: with one hull it would have sunk; with two hulls it would have flipped; with these three hulls it is really stable and can handle more than 200kg.

Glass fibre was a good price-quality ratio for 2015, but maybe carbon fibre will be a component of their 2016 prototype as it is lighter and could significantly improve its performance.