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Sunny skies, breathtaking scenery, fierce competition and exuberant students and public, were the highlights of the exciting Composite Catapult Competition that was held on 9 – 11 July 2003 at the Royal Netherlands Artillery Base.
This first International all Composite Catapult Shoot was organised by the European Pultrusion Technology Association (EPTA). After two years of planning this unique educational event, which was to enable the promotion and use of fibre reinforced composites profiles amongst European engineering students, finally went ahead. EPTA invited technical students of different European Universities to design, engineer and build a catapult out of fibre reinforced composite profiles. The objective was to successfully launch a polyester bowling ball weighing 12 lbs. (5.6 kg) at a designated target with a high degree of accuracy and to launch the same bowling ball over as great a distance as possible.
The requirements for the competing teams, consisting of 4 students and a tutor were; to research and design the engineering of the catapults in 2D and 3D, make a portfolio of the drawings and materials used, and build a website. It was also up to the teams to get sponsors to financially support their projects. The main activities at the army base would be the chance to present their catapult and to shoot with their machine.
The event got off to a good start from the very beginning. The Finnish team Triple Strike took the lead from the start with their impressively engineered catapult. It was clear that this team had invested a lot of time, effort and money in their shooting machine. Their hard work paid off as they took the not only the prize for the “Best Engineered Catapult”, but also the first prize at the end of the event for winning both the precision and the distance shoot. Their last shot was also the best of all, with a striking shot of almost 200 meters (189.6 meters to be precise!).
The Belgian teams; Team Katapuleuven, Team Kratapult and Team Bowlers Unlimited performed reasonably well although the latter had to pull out. The German teams Team Das TC-Domine Catapult and Team PoTeLo unfortunately had to pull out because they were both unable to propel their Catapult to a scoring position.
EPTA is considering a repeat event in July 2005 at the same venue. Because sponsoring by its members in particular and also broadly by the Composite Industry is essential, EPTA will now start to promote the second version of this project. This to make known the almost unlimited technical characteristics of engineered composite profiles.
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