Momentum - March 2019 - 10

FEATURE

STUDENT
GENERATION

FOCUS

ON TESTING
FUELS WIN

Fuel system engineer,
James Compton,
gleefully tests the
prototype rebar chassis.

Texas A&M Formula SAE team
members develop valuable
engineering skills as they apply the
fundamentals of engineering to a
complex problem that just happened
to be a racecar.
10 March 2019

FROM DAY ONE, our advisor, Yuval (UV) Doron,
made it very clear our primary goal was not to win a
competition. He said, "This course is not about building
a racecar. If you even finish building the car before the
year is over, I will be amazed. If that car works properly,
I'll be even more impressed. If the car completes even
one lap at competition, even better. If it finishes the
entire competition, that will be something to be proud
of, let alone winning. This course is not about building
a racecar."
We were instructed to focus on becoming skilled,
competent engineers by applying the fundamentals of
engineering to a complex problem that just happened
to be a racecar. Mechanical Engineering 401 and 402,
Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Design and
Intermediate Design, respectively, were about proving to
the university that we deserved the title of Engineer, not
about building a fast racecar. Even so, winning a racecar
competition is exactly what we did in Lincoln, Nebraska
last summer. Keeping the team focused on earning the
title of Engineer while balancing the desire to win was
key to that success.
The team had two jobs over the course of the year.
Before we could even dream of designing, building,
and developing a racecar, we had to grow into a team
capable of doing so. First, one member suggested that,
each week, a sub-team stand at the front of the class
to field questions from the entire team. Week by week,
the Chassis, Aerodynamics, Electrical, Powertrain, and
Suspension teams were grilled by the rest of the group
to test the limits of their knowledge. These "sub-team
roasts," as we so affectionately called them, allowed the
entire team to heavily critique every single part of the car
as well as each team member's knowledge. Individuals
were not only expected to know their own parts, but the
role these parts played in the vehicle's overall design.
This exposed everyone to the pressures that would be
seen in the design phase of the competition and allowed
each member ample opportunity to practice answering
technical questions. It often functioned as a rehearsal for
the Design Event portion of Formula SAE.
To further facilitate team development, we created
common procedures to thoroughly document every
design decision. Each team member was expected to
complete a lab-report style write-up for every major
decision. These decisions included suspension type,
tire selection, engine selection, wire gauge, airfoil
element selection, chassis material, and many others.
The justifications included all of the explored options,
relevant engineering principles, background research,
equations and calculations used in the decision, and
any other information relevant to the decision-making
process. These were published to the shared team
drive, reviewed by team members throughout the
year, and then used to write the final report. The final
report was a comprehensive 400-page document
detailing everything about the car including design,
manufacturing processes, development, and testing.

MOMENTUM



Momentum - March 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - March 2019

Momentum - March 2019
Contents
Making the connection
Briefs
Engineering design process crucial for success
A new perspective on airplane design
Focus on testing fuels win
Midnight Mayhem: Racing in the dark
2020 Supra: Toyota’s Japanese spin on German engineering
Over-the-air affair
SAE 101: March 15 is deadline for SAE scholarships
DOSSIER: Nicolas Parent of Lion Electric Co.
Advertise your interests
Take it from the experts
Momentum - March 2019 - Momentum - March 2019
Momentum - March 2019 - Cover2
Momentum - March 2019 - Contents
Momentum - March 2019 - Making the connection
Momentum - March 2019 - Briefs
Momentum - March 2019 - Engineering design process crucial for success
Momentum - March 2019 - 5
Momentum - March 2019 - 6
Momentum - March 2019 - A new perspective on airplane design
Momentum - March 2019 - 8
Momentum - March 2019 - 9
Momentum - March 2019 - Focus on testing fuels win
Momentum - March 2019 - 11
Momentum - March 2019 - 12
Momentum - March 2019 - Midnight Mayhem: Racing in the dark
Momentum - March 2019 - 2020 Supra: Toyota’s Japanese spin on German engineering
Momentum - March 2019 - Over-the-air affair
Momentum - March 2019 - SAE 101: March 15 is deadline for SAE scholarships
Momentum - March 2019 - 17
Momentum - March 2019 - DOSSIER: Nicolas Parent of Lion Electric Co.
Momentum - March 2019 - 19
Momentum - March 2019 - Take it from the experts
Momentum - March 2019 - Cover3
Momentum - March 2019 - Cover4
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