Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Dr. Gaurav Mittal

First Reader

Dr. Scott Sawyer


Every year the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) tasks collegiate students with designing, constructing, testing, and competing with an open wheel formula style racecar. This vehicle has to meet stringent technical requirements that are provided in a rule book published by SAE. The Formula SAE (FSAE) rule book is a very comprehensive set of requirements that are centered on safety of the driver of the vehicle and the safety of the track workers. The students are required to read and understand the rulebook in order to use sound engineering practices to build not only a high performing vehicle but a safe one. There are several aspects of the competition series to test the students understanding and knowledge of their vehicle. There are not only dynamic events that test the dynamic performance of the vehicle, but static events that test the knowledge and understanding of the students.

The Zips Racing team at the University of Akron has been competing in the FSAE competition series since 1990. The team is on its 27th vehicle design since inception and has recently switched its powertrain from a 600cc Inline 4 engine to a 450cc single cylinder engine. This report will detail why and how the switch in powertrains was accomplished. The design of the powertrain package will include a detailed analysis as to the selection of the base engine to be used, general conceptual design (Normally Aspirated or Forced Induction), and then particular component design to fit the overall conceptual design. The next section that will be evaluated will be the construction of the particular powertrain components. This is where material selection and manufacturing processes will be evaluated for each part. Once the powertrain is designed and then constructed, it is important to ensure it is tested to verify the package meets the design requirements that were previously chosen. When the powertrain is finished being tested, it is then essential to implement the package into the entire vehicle design. This is where component packaging will be determined. While these sections have been separated into distinct categories, there are a very close tie between each of them. One cannot exist without the other and many times one is found repeating the process to improve on a previous iteration. Overall, the Zips Racing team’s powertrain package has proven to be a very high performance system that will deliver an overall win this year.