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Riga Technical University (RTU) Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Transport and Aeronautics research scientists have performed measurements of skeleton sled runners hardness and geometry prior to the World Championship stages for skeleton. Well-prepared runners are an essential prerequisite for athletes to achieve the best possible results in competitions.
«We conduct research on friction processes at the Tribology Scientific Laboratory and research on runners geometry at Mitutoyo Laboratory. Before this year competition, we have tested the main runners, intended to be used in competition, in order to help athletes decide whether the runners hardness and geometry correspond to the expectations and whether the runners are manufactured in accordance with the athletes requirements,» says RTU Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Transport and Aeronautics (FMETA) researcher and the head of Mitutoyo Metrology laboratory, Janis Lungevics (Jānis Lungevičs). Runners measurements database is gradually being developed.
RTU FMETA Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics researchers have been working closely with Latvian skeleton athletes for several years, helping their sleds to slide faster on ice. Previously, the research has been financially supported by the government research program and the European Union, strengthening RTU scientists competences and improving methodology. Today, scientists proceed on a voluntary basis, stressing the necessity to ensure the research continuity and support Latvian sports development. Scientists and athletes hope to conduct systematic research on runners geometry in the future. «RTU could become an intermediate stage between sports equipment manufacturers and athletes,» says J. Lungevics.
RTU Mitutoyo Metrology Laboratory is the most modern and best equipped metrology laboratory in the Baltics. The laboratory, established with the support of the Japanese company Mitutoyo, was opened in September 2018. It is equipped with the most modern machinery developed by the company, which is mainly used for manufactured parts quality control, from simple linear measurements between two surfaces to a complicated 3D surface geometry control and surface unevenness measurements. It is constantly being supplemented with new equipment that is used in the study process, improving students engineering skills, in research process, as well as in cooperation with the industry. Meanwhile, the RTU Tribology Scientific Laboratory performs highly qualified scientific research in the field of friction and wear, as well as participates in the development and testing of new and innovative materials. Both laboratories substantially contribute to the creation of new and modern products in the field of mechanical engineering and machine building industry in Latvia.
For many years, RTU scientists and engineers have also been helping to prepare and technically improve sleds and special equipment for the Latvian Luge Sports Team.