Mechanical Engineering - Cooperative Education
Bachelor of Science
Date of Expected Graduation
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.
Dr. Richard J Gross
Dr. Gaurav Mittal
Dr. J E Drummond
Nauman, Amanda M., "Composite Tie Rod Research, Design and Testing For SAE Baja" (2015). Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 167.