Momentum - November 2020 - 12

FEATURE

STUDENT GENERATION

TALKING CHASSIS

Monocoque helps
make team from
the University
of Washington
a Formula SAE
winner.
A MONOCOQUE IS A TYPE OF
CHASSIS that carries loads,
utilizing a skin construction with
an absence of an internal frame.
The monocoque chassis is the
backbone of the car and provides
attachment points for the
powertrain, suspension, aero, and
other subassemblies of the car. In
the case of UW Formula
Motorsports (the Formula SAE
team from the University of Washington), the monocoque
chassis is constructed out of carbon fiber, reinforced plastic,
and aluminum honeycomb.
UW Formula has been utilizing a carbon-fiber monocoque
chassis for the past eight years. Compared to a traditional
steel spaceframe chassis, the monocoque allows for a lighter
chassis for equivalent stiffness and strength, as well as a great
learning opportunity for those on the team.
The monocoque is a year-long project that requires six
months of design and six months of manufacturing. The
design process of the T31 monocoque involved justifying
goals, simulations, physical testing, and countless iterations.
This year, the goals of the project were to minimize weight
while achieving the torsional stiffness target, satisfying rules,
ensuring driver safety, and efficiently packaging the
subsystems.
The torsional stiffness target was calculated through a
study of the relationship between roll stiffness distribution and
effective lateral load transfer. An ideal chassis is torsionally
infinitely stiff and will allow a linear relationship between
change in lateral load transfer from a change in roll stiffness
distribution. In the real world, there is a diminishing return in
gain of performance because to increase stiffness, weight is
added to the chassis. A good compromise between chassis
weight and stiffness was determined because of the

12 November 2020

Chassis cross section.

Laminate breakdown.
diminishing return of increasing chassis stiffness. This was
determined to be in lateral load transfer distribution difference
being 5% less than the roll stiffness difference. Finite element
analysis was used to simulate during the design process and a
physical torsional stiffness test was performed, with rigid
beams replacing the dampers after the chassis was
manufactured.
In the Formula SAE collegiate design competition, teams
are required to fill out the structural equivalency spreadsheet
(SES) for their chassis. The SES is a spreadsheet provided by

MOMENTUM



Momentum - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - November 2020

Momentum - November 2020
Questioning the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” cliche
BENEFITS U
Michigan Baja Racing goes 4WD
A testimony to experiential learning
One-on-One Liam MacGillivray
Talking chassis
BRIEFS
2021 ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first U.S.-market dedicated EV
UX designers and “engineering chefs” cook up unique user interfaces
SAE 101: student engagement
Be an optimist and an opportunist
Dossier: Madeline Corrigan of Northwestern University
Momentum - November 2020 - Momentum - November 2020
Momentum - November 2020 - Cover2
Momentum - November 2020 - 1
Momentum - November 2020 - Questioning the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” cliche
Momentum - November 2020 - BENEFITS U
Momentum - November 2020 - Michigan Baja Racing goes 4WD
Momentum - November 2020 - 5
Momentum - November 2020 - 6
Momentum - November 2020 - A testimony to experiential learning
Momentum - November 2020 - 8
Momentum - November 2020 - 9
Momentum - November 2020 - One-on-One Liam MacGillivray
Momentum - November 2020 - 11
Momentum - November 2020 - Talking chassis
Momentum - November 2020 - 13
Momentum - November 2020 - 14
Momentum - November 2020 - BRIEFS
Momentum - November 2020 - 2021 ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first U.S.-market dedicated EV
Momentum - November 2020 - UX designers and “engineering chefs” cook up unique user interfaces
Momentum - November 2020 - SAE 101: student engagement
Momentum - November 2020 - Be an optimist and an opportunist
Momentum - November 2020 - Dossier: Madeline Corrigan of Northwestern University
Momentum - November 2020 - Cover3
Momentum - November 2020 - Cover4
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