ME MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT
APRIL 1998
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON
A newsletter for alumni, students, and friends of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Student Car Projects Roll On

The student FutureCar team has begun work on a third vehicle, an aluminum chassis 1994 Mercury Sable donated by Ford for the 1998 Challenge competition. The team placed third in last summer's contest with other college teams. The new aluminum unibody and enclosure panels will save 384 pounds over its steel counterpart, according to staff advisor Glenn R. Bower. The FutureCar Challenge is set for June 4-12 at the Chrysler Technical Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Ford is also providing the students with a prototype diesel engine and powertrain. Other companies helping the team are Digi-Sonixs, Hi-Techniques, USCAR, Omega, Milwaukee Tool, Johnson Controls, Butler Gear, Therm-Tech, and Kohler. The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Consortium for Automotive Research, a joint effort of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, to improve fuel efficiency and national competitiveness. The UW car is a modified diesel hybrid electric assist vehicle.
Formula One car

Formula SAE team members design and build their racer to compete nationally. (54K JPG)

The student Mini-Baja vehicle project finished third in the four-hour endurance race at last summer's Midwest Mini-Baja competition in Ohio. Out of 80 college entries, the UW team finished ninth overall. This year's goal for the April competition in El Paso, Texas, and the June competition in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is to further reduce weight. Team members are developing a chassis dynamometer to access the clutch, manufacturing their own steering spindles, and improving the gearbox they built last year with parts and equipment from Miller Electric, Snap-On Tools, Polaris, and Titan Wheel. Other sponsors include Progressive Suspension, Ball Body Shop, Butler Gear, Therm-Tech, Carrera Shocks, and Torrington. The Milwaukee section of SAE, Ford Motor Company, and Kohler donated money.

Bower said that Briggs and Stratton will supply different motors to the SAE Baja project for the 1999 competitions, replacing the eight horsepower L-head engine with an 18 horsepower v-twin.

Full of plans for a new car design, the Formula SAE team is preparing for a new competition with 100 other North American engineering schools. This year's team is hoping to build on a seventh place finish in the design event at last year's competition in Pontiac, Michigan. The new car's frame will resemble last year's design, incorporating carbon fiber panels and high-strength frame tubes, while improving on suspension mounts and eliminating superfluous structural material.

The turbocharged 400cc Yamaha motorcycle engine will be carried over with changes for durability and driveability. The suspension design will save weight with the addition of mountain bike rear shock absorbers. More than half the team's members are new this year, and all the group student leaders are new.


ME Newsletter is a periodic publication of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Correspondence should be sent to the address below.

ME Newsletter
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1513 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1572

      Editor: Gail Gawenda
gawenda@engr.wisc.edu

Designer: Lynda Litzkow
litzkow@engr.wisc.edu


Last Modified: Wednesday, 20-May-1998 12:00:00 CDT

APRIL 1998 Contents