New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
This paper outlines the development of an economical and high-accuracy test stand to determine the torsional rigidity of a Formula SAE space frame. Originating as a final project from the Engineering Experimentation course at [University Name], the student-designed torsional test-stand has become a permanent fixture in the Automotive Lab. The test stand consisted of a lever arm rigidly attached to the front axle, which constrained it from rotation about the axle, in order to apply a torque to simulate suspension loading. The rear axle was fixed in all three degrees of translational freedom and two degrees of rotational freedom. The instrumentation consisted of nine low cost laser pointers attached along the length of the frame at key locations that projected onto graph paper to magnify the small angular deflections. Using basic mechanics of materials, a model relating the angular deflection and the applied torque was used in order to determine the torsional rigidity of the frame. The results include the determination of the torsional rigidity along the frame, the calculated torsional rigidity at the point of interest (the front axle), and comparison to a finite-element model. The torsional stiffness at the front axle was calculated experimentally to be 1187 ft-lb/degree. The FEA model predicted a torsional stiffness of 1100 ft-lb/degree, which is within a 10% confidence interval of the experimentally determined value. The cost of the entire experimental setup was approximately $375, making it a low-cost solution to a typically expensive experiment. This experimental rig has become a research platform in [University Name]’s automotive lab with uses in various courses and high school level STEM outreach programs.
Chambers, A. E., & Rodriguez, S. A., & Walsh, R. M., & Wootton, D. (2016, June), Development of a Test Stand for Determining the Torsional Rigidity of a Formula SAE Space Frame Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26814
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