The mechanical team is led by Lizette Nyugen, a 4th Year Mechanical Engineering student. The mechanical team is divided into four subdivisions; aerodynamics, suspension, chassis, and composition. Their goal is to design the mechanical system of an environmentally friendly car per race regulations that will compete in the American Solar Challenge.
Our chassis is designed to withstand 5g loads from all directions, meaning – in other words – we can crash and be completely fine! Everything about our car must be designed to be completely street legal, while remaining lightweight and aerodynamic. Our spaceframe chassis is made with 4130 chromoly tubes designed to withstand 5g loads from all directions.
The aerodynamics team is responsible for the design of the aerodynamic shell of the car and the ventilation systems that cool the driver and battery. Using Solidworks for CAD and ANSYS for CFD, the aerodynamics team designs a shell that provides sufficient driver visibility, solar panel area, and conforms to the maximum dimensions specified in the regulations. Simulations provide information on drag, drag coefficients, and flow rates.
The shell utilizes a sandwich structure of fiberglass, layered around foam material, to ensure the body will withstand a maximum 5g load impact.
The suspension team is tasked with providing the driver with proper contact, comfort, and control while driving. This has been done in SolidWorks to design and simulate a double wishbone suspension system, withstanding a 2g bump, 1g braking, and 1g turn loading condition. The front wheel travel is +/- 2.5 cm and the rear is +/- 1.89 cm. The front spring rates are 150 lb/in and the rear are 400 lb/in. The control arms will be made out of welded 4130 Chromoly steel. The upright will be made out of CNC milled 6061 T6 aluminum. The wheels and wheel hubs will be purchased from Mitsuba Corporation.
Our entire car, with all components and driver included, weighs in at around 500 pounds. With our lightweight body and aerodynamic shape, we will be able to drive halfway across the country on only the power of the sun.