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dc.contributor.authorAnderson, Eric Carltonen_US
dc.date.accessioned2014-06-06T08:00:33Z
dc.date.available2014-06-06T08:00:33Z
dc.date.issued2014-06-05en_US
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:3310en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/48436
dc.description.abstractEach year, the Virginia Tech (VT) Formula SAE (FSAE) team creates a high performance car to compete against 120 teams from around the world in a series of dynamic events evaluating acceleration, maneuverability, and handling. In an effort to improve upon the VT 2013 car, the torsional stiffness of the chassis was increased. Increasing the torsional stiffness of the chassis allows the suspension to be more precisely tuned, resulting in a better overall performance. An investigation was conducted into methods for improving the chassis stiffness, and it was determined that many state-of-the-art vehicles from go-karts to super cars incorporate strength-bearing, tailored advanced composite materials in their structure. Examples of components that use composites in vehicles include sandwich structures in load-bearing panels, layups in the skin of vehicles for aesthetic purposes and carbon-fiber frame tubes. The VT FSAE car already includes untailored carbon-fiber panels on the bottom and sides of the structure for packaging and aerodynamic purposes. By integrating and optimizing these carbon-fiber panels, the torsional stiffness and therefore overall performance of the structure may be increased. This thesis explores composite testing, optimization methods, experimental and computational analysis of the chassis, and results. The fiber orientation of the panels may be optimized because carbon-fiber composite materials are generally anisotropic. Therefore the composite materials can be tailored to maximize the stiffness, resulting in the optimum stiffness per added weight. A good measure for testing stiffness per added weight is through measuring natural frequencies because natural frequency is proportional to stiffness per unit mass. A computer program was developed in MATLAB to optimize the composite configuration, and uses an objective function involving the first three natural frequencies of the original steel space frame chassis and the first three natural frequencies of the steel chassis augmented with three composite panels. The composite material properties were determined using specimen tensile testing and checked with finite elements. The natural frequencies of the half-scale chassis were determined experimentally, compared to the simulated version, and varied by less than seven percent. The optimization of the full-scale model determined that eight layers of optimized, integrated carbon-fiber composite panels will increase the first, second, and third natural frequencies by sixteen, twenty-six, and six percent, respectively. Natural frequency increases of these amounts show that by using tailored, load-bearing composite panels in the structure, the torsional stiffness of the structure increases, resulting in easier suspension tuning and better performance at the VT FSAE competitions.en_US
dc.format.mediumETDen_US
dc.publisherVirginia Techen_US
dc.rightsThis Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. Some uses of this Item may be deemed fair and permitted by law even without permission from the rights holder(s), or the rights holder(s) may have licensed the work for use under certain conditions. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights holder(s).en_US
dc.subjectFinite Elementen_US
dc.subjectCompositeen_US
dc.subjectOptimizationen_US
dc.subjectFormula SAEen_US
dc.subjectChassisen_US
dc.titleDesign and Optimization of Carbon-Fiber Chassis Panelsen_US
dc.typeThesisen_US
dc.contributor.departmentMechanical Engineeringen_US
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen_US
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Scienceen_US
thesis.degree.levelmastersen_US
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineMechanical Engineeringen_US
dc.contributor.committeechairWest, Robert L. Jr.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKennedy, John Mauriceen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberCase, Scott W.en_US


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