Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Major

Mechanical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Dr. Richard J Gross

First Reader

Dr. Gaurav Mittal

Second Reader

Dr. J E Drummond

Abstract

Composite materials have become increasing popular in recent years. For the Baja SAE team, composites are typically only used for body panels. To grow as a team and to earn additional points in design competition, it was decided to explore composite use in mechanical applications, specifically for the tie rods. Research was conducted, looking into composite materials basics, types, and material properties. Additionally, manufacturing was explored, including a few projects separate from the tie rod application. 3D models were created after the materials were selected, and FEA analysis was conducted on the parts. Once theoretical testing was finished, the physical testing pieces were purchased and assembled, then tested. The most apparent issue with the design was the bond between the selected carbon fiber tubes and manufactured aluminum inserts. This bond, at most was measured at around 45 pounds of tensile force, which is much less than needed in this application, as the carbon fiber was calculated to withstand just over 2,000 pounds. Data was collected and recommendations for additional research and testing were made, including recommendations to attempt to yield better test results. The project, although initial testing yielded disappointing results, is not a lost cause. In the future, additional methods and designs should be explored.

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