Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

National Fluid Power Association

First Reader

Nicholas Garafolo


Every year the National Fluid Power Association hosts a Fluid Powered Vehicle Challenge, this exposes students from universities all around the United States to the power and possibilities of hydraulics. This year the University of Akron’s team of engineers set out to design a bicycle that would be competitive and innovative in all aspects of the competition. In order to accomplish this, the designed bicycle must excel in three categories of competition; a sprint race, an endurance race, and an efficiency challenge.

To accomplish this task the University of Akron’s team of engineers used a lightweight bicycle frame with many key hydraulic components mounted to it. An Eaton 26 series pump and motor served to power the direct drive side of the bicycle that will be used to compete in both the sprint and endurance races. A Parker F-11 high pressure motor and Eaton Vickers accumulator served to power the accumulation side of the hydraulic circuit through charging and discharging. These accumulation components are used in the efficiency challenge and are controlled by a Eaton four way three position rotary valve that determines when energy is being stored and when energy is being released. Lightweight bicycle components as well as a broad range of gearing selection will allow for competitive advantages for all three events of the Fluid Powered Vehicle Challenge.

The final product is a spectacle, one that pushes the limits of what was previously possible at the University of Akron. Precisely machined to allow for high speeds of fifteen miles per hour and long accumulation distances more than three hundred feet in length. All of this and more at a cost less than five thousand dollars. With this product the University is set-up to succeed and compete with an innovative design at the 2017 National Fluid Power Association Fluid Powered Vehicle Challenge.