Belzona Sponsors University Engineering Student’s Toboggan Team for National Races
Belzona, a world leader in the design and manufacture of industrial protective coatings and polymer repair composites, is thrilled to sponsor the University of Toronto’s Concrete Toboggan Team, the 2013 Toronto Globeboggers!
Back in 2011, Belzona Canada was contacted by Thomas Medal, a high school student at Martingrove Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke, Ontario, who was competing in the FIRST Robotics Competition. The aim of this international competition is to teach young students about engineering, software development, teamwork and leadership; eventually inspiring them to pursue a career in engineering.
Thomas contacted us back then because his team was searching for a cold-curing rubber compound to use for their robots wheels. With help from our Technical Services Engineer, Matthew Grundy, they created thirty-two wheels using Belzona® 2131 (Durable & Abrasive Fluid Elastomer) which were used in the March competition.
Since then Thomas has followed in his father’s and older sibling’s footsteps and is currently enrolled in the University of Toronto’s Engineering program. From a young age he was interested in how things worked; using his grandpa’s power tools and building large structures out of Lego. Thomas is particularly interested in Mechatronics; the combination of mechanical, electronic, compute, software, control, and Systems Design engineering in order to design and manufacture useful products.
Earlier this year Thomas was asked to join the U of T’s concrete toboggan team, which competes annually in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race. The GNCTR started over 35 years ago in Red Deer, Alberta and continues to be the largest engineering student competition in Canada. The rules are simple: design and build a toboggan capable of safely carrying five riders down a hill, with running surfaces made of concrete. The competition also includes a technical exhibition where teams are judged on their designs and concrete mixes. There is also a large sustainability aspect to the competition. This event is much more than a competition for participants; it is a tradition that encourages teamwork, sportsmanship and school spirit and gives students the opportunity to meet other students in their field and build relationships with the professional community. Thomas was excited to join the team because of the fun and spirit of the competition, plus it gives participants a great hands-on experience with their peers. This year’s event is hosted by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver from January 23-27th, 2013.
The U of T team is placing focus “on technical design…incorporating mechanical systems into the toboggan design –a first for the team. They hope to be a medal winner in the Technical Design category, the Sustainability Award and the Best Breaking Distance Award,” says Thomas. This year they have been able to reduce the weight of the concrete skis from over 100lbs to only 60lbs using a foam core, fiberglass mess and special mortar, which should allow them to travel downhill faster.
Belzona Canada will be onsite in Vancouver cheering the team on and providing emergency repair materials that may be required for quick fixes on their toboggan between the races. Let’s go team 2013 Globeboggers!