Thursday, October 30, 2008

The beginning of the Uni

Uni. Mono. One.

These words symbolize, among other things, the prefix to a singular body, or chassis, as in the case of MSU's newest Formula SAE car; Car 12. For the better part of a decade, MSU Formula SAE Teams have produced chassis based upon 4130 Chromoly Steel space frames; structures consisting of tubes that are welded together. Though the team has designed and manufactured some amazing chassis out of steel; due to rules changes for 2009, this style of chassis manufacture has become less advantageous to continue with.

For over a year now, Composite Chassis Team Leader Josh Heyden has been developing the design of what is now Car 12's full-composite monocoque chassis. By definition, a monocoque is a structural skin that supports loads that otherwise would be applied to an internal load-bearing frame covered by a skin, the latter being very similar to 2008 MSU Car 51. This type of design and manufacture, combined with modern composite techniques, allows for significant weight savings and the ability to locate inner suspension points essentially where ever best suits to generate desired vehicle dynamics performance. The downsides to this type of chassis are that it is significantly more expensive than a space frame, requires far more planning, more time allotted for manufacturing, and also the use of an Autoclave to cure. However, given some rules changes for the 2009 Formula SAE season, we felt long ago that this was a good time to transition to the monocoque technique.

Over the past few weeks, Composite Chassis Team Leader Josh Heyden has been wrapping up the design of Car 12's monocoque chassis and preparing the blocks of Huntsman Renshape that will become the plugs to make molds that will eventually generate the vehicle's chassis. At this time, thanks to long-time Platinum Sponsor Demmer Corporation, the Huntsman-donated Renshape blocks are being machined to create Car 12's chassis plugs.

Below are some pictures from epoxying the Ren-sheets together to form the blocks. We'll keep everyone updated as the most-exciting component of Car 12 continues!

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Composite Chassis Team Leader Josh Heyden and Aerodynamics Team Leader Jim Guitar drill holes to center the blocks on their respective risers

A completed block

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