History of the Project:
The University of Maine Clean Snowmobile is an ongoing capstone project in the Mechanical Engineering Department that has been developing a compressed natural gas (CNG) powered snowmobile through the conversion of a 2013 Arctic Cat XF1100 SnoPro. This project was started three years ago with the hopes of broadening the horizon when it comes to alternative fuels to be used in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge. The sled is taken to Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress every year to exhibition it in the college project design competition with the continued desire to get it entered in the SAE Clean Snowmobile challenge. Though the sled ran on CNG and was built using the competition's requirements, the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge continues to refuse to allow it to compete due to its fuel source being CNG which is not a current class of fuel accepted at the challenge. In order to make the transition as painless as possible from capstone year to capstone year the University of Maine has a chapter of SAE which allows underclassman students to be a part of the project through the SAE Clean Snowmobile Club. This allows for underclassman to assist in the current capstone projects and gain valuable knowledge about the project that might otherwise be lost in the transitions. In addition the capstone teams bring a few dedicated members from the club every year to SAE World Congress to educate people about our project and the validity of CNG as an acceptable alternative fuel source in the continued hope that one day SAE will embrace new innovative solutions and add CNG as a category in the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge.

Vehicle Dynamics Capstone 2015-2016
When the snowmobile was converted to run on CNG a large tank had to be put on the back in order to hold the gaseous fuel necessary to go the distance specified for the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge. The addition of the tank negatively effected the dynamic properties of the snowmobile such as shifting the center of gravity (COG) toward the back of the sled and up further from the ground. This shift in the COG altered the sleds responsiveness and decreased its handling performance drastically from stock design. Our project this year is to analyze the snowmobiles dynamics using Solidworks and MSC Adams. In addition we performed experimental testing to ensure that the results the computer models were providing were close to what is seen in reality on a snowmobile. Then by using the information taken from these models we can determine suggestions for ways to improve the sled in order to improve its ability to handle in normal snowmobiling conditions. Please see the poster attached below for a general overview of the project as a whole.