Model Demonstrates Chassis Benefits
The Mechanical Team is the group that designs and builds the car's chassis, which includes the suspension, the steering and braking systems and the frame that holds them all together. The design for all the parts are very near completion but some details remain.
After spending a lot of time designing an aluminum space frame it became obvious that the construction would take a tremendous amount of work. Given the amount of time, ambitious schedule, and the remaining short time span, we considered a composite frame to simplify the construction process.
The frame is being constructed from fiberglass composite panels, these are very light and stiff. We also considered carbon fiber panels which are even lighter and stiffer than fiberglass composite panels, but we decided on the fiberglass panels because of our experience with our last car. Aurora-I had a carbon frame which is electrically conductive and there were some problems with people
receiving shocks while working on the car. Fiberglass, which is not conductive, will work great without these nasty inconveniences.
We built a full scale model of the frame design from plywood, and from the assembly of the full scale model, we learned just how quickly we can build the frame. The model was completed in only two days. Using the model as our guide, we have already cut out the final chassis, and final assembly has already begun.
We are again following the three-wheeled concept adopted early in `94. The design includes two front wheels with an A-arm suspension and hydraulic disc brakes. The rear wheel, along with mountain bike-style brake and the motor, will be held n a four bar swing arm directly behind the driver. We have worked to keep the weight at a minimum, and in anticipation of flat tires during the race, we have designed the wheels for quick changes.