Carbon Fiber Monocoque Chassis Redesign
McCoy, Matthew L., 1999--
Durham, Todd E., 1999--
Bangert, Lauren M., 1999--
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The NIU Supermileage Team develops ultra-energy efficient gas and electric vehicles. In the past, the team has created their vehicle using an aluminum tubing frame and carbon fiber shell. The carbon fiber shell is not load bearing and only acts as an aerodynamic shape for the vehicle, allowing it to slice through the air efficiently by minimizing drag due to air resistance and turbulence in the form of eddy currents. The primary goal of the capstone project was to develop a monocoque chassis for the Supermileage Team. A monocoque chassis is a body type in which the vehicle is composed of a singular, unibody structure. Rather than having an aluminum tubing frame as the structure and carbon fiber shell as the aerodynamic geometry, the carbon fiber composite structure functions as both the load bearing structure as well the aerodynamic structure. This allows for optimization in weight, aerodynamics, and rolling resistance. Through the developments of this project, a chassis was developed that reduced weight by 28% and reduced the frontal cross-sectional area by 15%, all while maintaining a high level of strength and increasing modularity of the vehicle.