Screw powered rescue

A student from Sunderland University has won the Parametric Technology Corporation Worldwide Design Challenge.

Mark Armstrong, who is studying Automotive Design and Technology at Sunderland, won the competition against four million students across the world after designing a novel rescue vehicle.
His so-called Archimedes Screw Propelled Vehicle can operate in extreme terrain both on land and water, using the principle of the Archimedes screw – an idea that is over 2,000 years old.

The concept of the screw was first discovered by Archimedes in the 3rd Century BC, and is thought to have been used to irrigate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Now the 23-year-old from Peterlee has beat off competition from universities around the world by using this wonder of the ancient world to create a futuristic vehicle that can operate in the most inhospitable places.

‘The idea behind using the Archimedes screw is to allow rescue vehicles to operate in hostile and inaccessible terrain which normal wheeled vehicles would find difficult to negotiate, such as the Antarctic, mud fields and marine environments,’ he said.

‘The vehicle could be used by rescue services, and is aimed at reducing the time it takes to get to the scene of an emergency, saving more people’s lives,’ he added.

His created his design on a CAD system over a period of just nine weeks, but the young engineer’s design is far from a flight of fancy.  An Archimedes screw driven vehicle successfully crossed the Bering Strait in 2002 – one of the most inhospitable seas in the world.

The design is unique in that it integrates the hi-tech Archimedes screw drive with a typical wheeled vehicle, so that the rescue vehicle can access minor and major roads, and travel efficiently and quickly to and from the scene of an accident, no matter where it occurs.

The Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC) Worldwide Design Challenge is aimed at bridging the gap between education and industry, and involved 1,450 universities worldwide and over four million students.