Mechanical Engineering newsletter masthead

FALL/WINTER 2002-2003

Featured articles

Engine Research Center
receives major boost from General Motors

Mechanical Engineering Building project progresses

Polymer conference kicks off new NSF center

ME faculty, alums honored at Oct. 26, 2002 Engineers' Day

Student automotive projects to get new home

Student wins scholarship

Vadim Shapiro's CAD advances give shape to engineering solutions

In memoriam

Department awards 91 scholarships

Faculty profiles: Darryl Thelen and Scott Sanders

Sanders paper wins prestigious award

Industrial Advisory Board tours ME research laboratories

Regular features

Message from the chair

Student automotive projects to get new home

Mini-Baja team 2002

Battleworn and caked with mud, min-baja #1 waits for a washing in the shop. (32K JPG)

The college's national championship FutureTruck, along with other student automotive projects, will soon have a new home. FutureTruck team leaders hope to move this fall into a research center built specifically for Department of Mechanical Engineering student automotive projects in the college's new Engineering Centers Building. The Myers Student Automotive Center has a state-of-the-art engine testing room, where students will be able to utilize the latest technology to analyze, build and tinker with engines for their vehicles. Several of the student project vehicles were on display during an open house and unveiling of the Engineering Centers Building in October.

The Myers Students Automotive Center will be an appropriate home for the college's nationally competitive vehicles. A sport-utility vehicle dubbed the "Moolander" and modified by College of Engineering students won this year's FutureTruck Challenge, held this summer in Arizona and California. Other student projects, such as Formula and the Mini-Baja vehicle team, have fared well in national competitions in recent years.

The FutureTruck team easily won first place in this year's national competition, besting 14 other trucks by scoring 839 out of a possible 1,000 points. The runner-up truck from Michigan Tech scored 693 points. Points are awarded in several categories, including truck handling, emissions, acceleration, off-road performance and technical reports compiled by the team.

The FutureTruck team took first place in a number of individual categories, including: lowest greenhouse gas emissions, innovations in aluminum, vehicle design inspection, and best workmanship. The team also won the coveted Dr. Donald Streit Sportsmanship Award. "This was such a challenging endeavor to undertake, but it is rewarding to participate and receive recognition," said Glenn Bower, the group advisor. "We've worked hard, tackled obstacles and in the end we succeeded above and beyond our goals."

Using a hybrid electric advanced technology powertrain system, the FutureTruck team successfully managed to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a 2002 Ford Explorer without sacrificing performance or safety.

FutureTruck's goal is to lower emissions and achieve a 25 percent increase in over-the-road fuel economy of SUVs while maintaining the safety, performance and comfort levels that have made them so popular. The team succeeded in reducing the greenhouse gas index by 50 percent and increasing fuel economy by 45 percent. The team reengineered components and used advanced materials such as an aluminum/steel hybrid frame and a titanium exhaust system. Seven out of 10 teams achieved better overall over-the-road fuel economy compared to the base 2002 Ford Explorer and two teams managed to exceed the base Explorer's performance, while still applying environmentally sound technologies.

The FutureTruck competition brings together government, industry and academia to explore clean, fuel-efficient automotive technologies. Ford Motor Company and the U.S. Department of Energy were sponsors for 2002. Ford will continue its commitment to FutureTruck and the 2003 competition will be part of the 100th Anniversary of Ford Motor Company taking place in Dearborn, Mich. at Ford headquarters.


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Date last modified: Friday, 03-Jan-2003 13:48:00 CST
Date created: 03-Jan-2003

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