Duke University Motorsports is a student group that designs and builds open wheel, single seat race cars to compete in the Formula SAE competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The team consists of Duke students from both Pratt and Trinity, in all classes. The purpose of the team is to provide students with a way to gain practical design and manufacturing experience in a fun and challenging setting.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jan-Mid February Update

We have been very busy at the Duke Motorsports garage, both on and off the car. Duke University recently had their spring semester TechConnect and Career Fair events, and we were lucky enough to have GM IT department come to the event. After lunch with some of the recruiters, we brought them down to the garage to show them last year's car and the progress we've made on this year's car. And of course, when given the opportunity to sit in a race car, who could resist? We want to thank them for their hospitality, and that we really enjoyed having them visit us!

We recently finished the engine mounts for the new frame, and everything is starting to come together for the car.

Engine mounts on the new frame
With the engine mounts in place, we can mount the new engine in the frame, and begin assembling all of the subsystems around it. We've also been working hard at getting the suspension A-arms made. So far, we're at 6 of 8, and they're looking great!

Xavier has been leading the way with the electrics for the new car, and they have not only been looking at the PCB boards for the car, but also machining a lot of the mounting panels for the ECU, dash, and master switches. It's very easy to forget all of the small details that are needed to assemble a subsystem properly.

Under the magnifying glass

But wait, he's an ECE...???
David has been busy machining away and making it rain aluminum, and everything is turning out beautifully. So far, he's successfully made the front two uprights along with all of the drivetrain parts, and he is going to be trying to tackle the rear uprights shortly.

So happy for something so shiny

We also tried our luck with the first round of making the carbon fiber aero package for the new car. We thought everything was going smoothly, but we soon realized that excessive vacuum causes the airfoils to crinkle and harden that way. We're currently researching different methods of applying the carbon fiber, epoxy, and vacuum to the foam airfoils, but we also want to focus on getting all of the other parts of the car done before worrying about the aero package.

Cutting the carbon fiber sections for the airfoils
Laying up the carbon fiber

We also made some progress on the new radiator for this year's car. After my personal independent study research, I believe I have enough data to feel confident in utilizing a smaller radiator for the competition car in order to reduce the overall weight of the cooling system and allow for a better packaged system. I needed to make some small modifications to the heat exchanger, but we're happy with how it turned out.

New heat exchanger
In other news, Xavier decided to try his luck at the Chai's Torture Challenge, where he had to consume 12 of the spiciest chicken wings known to mankind in under 15 minutes. Unfortunately, he only made it through 4 wings, but we all gave him an A for effort. The sauce is miserably spicy though.

Duke Motorsports is also hosting the SAE Carolinas event at a local highschool, Research Triangle Highschool, this Tuesday. Some of the universities that will be attending are USC, UNC-Charlotte, NC A&T, and Clemson, and these teams will be bringing their Formula SAE and Baja SAE cars to showcase. We will all have the opportunity to talk with the other teams, with engineers working in industry, and then have the opportunity to present the progress our teams have made so far this year. It should be a great event, and we're looking forward to it!

And finally, since the Duke-UNC game is this coming Wednesday, GO TO HELL CAROLINA, GO TO HELL!

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