Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis

FSAE

Chassis
1. Introduction
Although it is simple to design a single part or system, it is more difficult to incorporate all of the parts and systems into a single package, such as a racecar. The design team for each system or part must keep in mind how its design will affect the overall package. For example, the suspension design team must leave enough room for the driver¶s legs between the left and right control arm pivot points. The purpose of the frame is to rigidly connect the frontand rear suspension while providing attachment points for the different systems of the car. Relative motion between thefront and rear suspension attachment points can cause inconsistent handling. The frame must also provideattachment points, which will not yield within the car¶sperformance envelope.There are many different styles of racecar frames - space frame,monocoque, and ladder, etc. The most popular style for FSAE is the tubular space frame. Space frames are a series of tubes, which are joined together to forma structure that connects all of the necessary componentstogether. However, most of the concepts and theories can beapplied to other chassis designs.

A Sample Frame Design

2. Stiffness of the frame.
The suspension is designed with the goal of keeping allfour tires flat on the ground throughout the performancerange of the vehicle. Generally, suspension systems aredesigned under the assumption that the frame is a rigid body.For example, undesirable changes in camber and toe canoccur if the frame lacks stiffness. In most cases, a chassis that is stiff enough for competition will not yield. However, some care should be taken to ensure that the attachment points of the frame do not yield when subjected to design loads. For example, the engine mounts should be made stiff enough to reduce the possibility of failure. 2.1 Torsional Stiffness.

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Bending stiffness can also be used to analyze the efficiency ofa frame design. the farther material is from the axis of twist the stiffer the frame will be in bending and torsion. torsional rigidity is not the onlymeasurement for analyzing the stiffness of a chassis. Use of thin wall steel tubing for theframe design requires significant triangulation of the frame.Visualizing the frame as a collection of rods which areconnected by pin joints can help frame designers locate themechanisms in a design.Obviously. However.Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis FSAE Torsional stiffness is the resistance of the frame to torsional loads. Thecomponents. will betorsionally stiffer than a mechanism. This concept is implemented by adding structural side pods to the basic frame. an effortshould be made to triangulate the chassis as much as possible. However. Triangulation can be used to increasethe torsional stiffness of a frame. Some extra structure can be added to the frame to increase its safety. Designers can also evaluatetheir frame by checking to see if each pin-jointed nodecontains at least three rods. since a triangle is the simplest form. which complement the load path. which is always a structure and not amechanism. bending stiffness is not as important as torsional stiffness because deflection due tobending will not affect wheel loads. 2 . this additional material might degradethe performance of the car because of the added mass. which is a structure. which produce significant amounts of force. Therefore. since thin wall tubing performs very well intension and compression but poorly in bending. 2. Therefore. The area moment of inertia has a large influence on the stiffness of a structure.3 Area Moment of Inertia. a frame. forexample the engine and suspension should be attached to the frame at triangulated points. Obviously. Frame Triangulation (Frame. A chassis can be madeextremely stiff by adding significant amounts of material tothe frame.2 Triangulation. Side View) 2.

the figure below shows how the vertical load generated by the weight on the wheel will travel through the upright.4 Load Path.5 Crash Worthiness. This material can also increase the side impact protection. The frame stiffness can be substantially increased by properly placing the roll hoop tubes. and coil-over shock and into the structure of the frame.Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis Structural Sidepods (Frame Top View) FSAE The above figure shows the triangulated side pods. During the design process. For example. which can be used to increase the torsional rigidity of the frame. a free body diagram for each component must be drawn. rocker. roll hoop and down tubes can also be used to increase the rigidity of the frame. In the interest of safety. Load Path for Front Inboard Suspension 2. 2. Most of the successful FSAE cars have structural side pods for safety and increased torsional stiffness.Nevertheless. it is important to consider how loads are passed into the frame. A load path describes the path through which forces are dissipated into the frame. In addition to using the sidepods to increase the stiffness of the chassis. to properly investigate the forces involved. this concept can be used by the designers to visualize how the frame should be constructed. The sidepods add structure as far from the centerline of the chassis as possible that increases the area moment of inertia between the front and rear suspensions. push rod. Of course. the Formula SAE Rules Committee has written very specific rules to 3 .

For example. However. Correctly attaching the components of the drivetrain to the frame is very important for extended frame life. the UMRolla team found that if the FSAE rules were followed and the frame was optimized for stiffness. the driver occupies a section of the frame.7 Drivetrain. sufficient clearance mustexist so that several front and rear sprockets can be used. The probability of the vehicle running into a solid object.This is due to the fact that most FSAE chassis layouts haveshort distances between the drivetrain components. side. it was obvious that the car would be adequate for most possible crash situations. which are generated by accelerating or braking. The maindesign point is to ensure that the frame does not break duringan incorrect downshift or a violent release of the clutch. Designing the frame so the control arms are attached toa stiff portion of the chassis can sometimes be very difficult. such as a curb or loading dock was high. Packaging of the suspension to the frame is generally not an interference problem since most of thecomponents are exterior to the frame. which could be used to significantly increase the stiffness of the frame. Due to the possibility of a head on collision. Therefore. Each of the systems of a FSAE car must be packaged within the frame. 2. The lack of clearance proves to be adrawback when trying to drive the racecar in the confinedspace of the FSAE competition and the more open spaces ofautocrosses. This distance can be changed because itwill not affect the suspension geometry. considerable thought should be given to the safety of the driver¶s feet during a frontal impact. since the rotationalaxis of the control arm is not affected. While designing the 1996 entry. differential. This allows the designer to concentrate on the load paths from the push rods and rockers so that the frame can efficiently react to the loads. decreasingthe span of the control arms will reduce the arm¶s ability to react to the forces.6 Suspension. more structure should be placed in the nose of the frame.This clearance allows a wide selection of final drive ratios. However. and rollover crash situations. it isespecially important to attach the suspension components tostiff portions of the chassis to correctly distribute the loadsthat will be passed through these components. Changing the distance between thecontrol arm pivot points can help to optimize the load pathfor the control arms. The relative stiffness between the engine. When designing the frame around the motor anddifferential on chain driven designs. Providing clearance fordirect removal of the engine will reduce the amount 4 . 2. The placement of these components limits the available paths for tubes. Ease of maintenance is also an important designconsideration when designing the frame around thedrivetrain.and frame is not as critical as when attaching the suspension.Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis FSAE protect the driver from frontal. which is usually detrimental to the chassis stiffness. The suspension should be designed concurrently with the frame.

11 Egress. Designing the frame around the controls. the attachment points of the harness must be strong enough to ensure that they will not fail during a crash. This section explains the basic design sequence that is not only the avenue for the design of a vehicle but is a logical sequence for the design of FSAE cars. Properly incorporating the driver into a FSAE frame design can be very difficult because of wide variations in driver sizes. the designers have to compromise ergonomics for chassisstiffness. the frame must adequately support the controls so that the attachment points do not yield while the car is being driven. The frame designers should look beyond the structuralconsiderations of the frame when designing it so majoroversights are reduced.This was a design error because the universal joint betweenthe steering wheel and the rack and pinion was not able tobend 900. alternator. and valvecover.10 Safety harness. 2.8 Ergonomics. a teamencountered a packaging issue for their chassis when theyplaced the steering wheel directly over the rack and pinion. Each driver interface has to be designed so that it is comfortable for a wide variety of drivers. The driver¶s arms are a particular problem in this area. A Possible design sequence. 2. 2. such as the steering wheel and pedals. The frame should not interfere with the drivers as they move through the full range of motion. Most importantly. They also must be positioned so that the buckles will not bind when the harness is tightened. Also.Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis FSAE ofmechanic¶s stress involved with engine changes. 2. It has alsobeen found advantageous to provide simple access to allcovers on the motor such as the clutch. is a matter of ensuring that the structure of the frame does not interfere with the driver¶s task. For example.9 Controls. which is required to drive the car. 3. Sometimes for the driver¶s feet and legs to fit through. 5 . Rapid egress is very important since the rules mandate that the driver must exit the vehicle within five seconds.

scrub radius. the team should look at vertical and lateral roll center movement and camber change. the next step is to start designing the frame. Once this is completed. the driver and engine placement should be sketched into the design for an estimation of weight distribution. After the suspension system had been checked for interference problems.1 Layout. the team should make a preliminary decision on tire and wheel size. These are needed so that the design team could model the suspension geometry.Also. 3. The suspension can be modeled with 00 of static camber. ampleroom can be left for the controls needed for various driver sizes. 6 . caster. the fuel system may have to be packaged near the center of gravity to reduce the effects of its varying mass during the race. 3. The major components. After the suspension design had been determined. the steering system should be designed based on the probable location of the frame rails and steering arms. A suspension-modeling program can be used to analyze camber change and roll center movement. To simplify thisprocess only mounting points or rough sketches can be entered. sufficient room must be designed into the frame for thesystems that had not been completed. After the track width and wheelbase had been determined. For example.2 Suspension Geometry. KPI. uprights. Then the preliminary mechanical designs of the suspension components should be drawn. The suspension-modeling program should also be used to reduce bump steer. The suspension should then be moved through its range of motion in a solid modeling package to check for interference between the control arms.Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis FSAE 3.3 Solid Modeling. First determine the track width and wheel base dimensions of the vehicle. because static camber could be optimized during testing. For instance. tie rods. Once the preliminary suspension design is complete. and wheels. the next step is to enter the suspension points into a 3-D computer model. Some thought should be given to the placement of other important or hard-to-package systems. A CAE package like Solid Works or Catiacan be used to model the framestructure. should be drawn into the model. and roll center height. During the modeling of the suspension. It is necessary to perform several iterations before a satisfactory geometry can be obtained. The design team should then settle on some basic suspension parameters: camber gain. such as engine anddifferential.

3.5 Analysis. Connecting the Dots. By using the concepts of triangulation and area moment of inertia. some preliminary designs for the inboard suspension can allow a load path analysis to drive the design of the structure. the defined points should be connected with tubes. However.4 Connecting the points. 3. Connecting the dots simply consists of attaching the front suspension to the rear suspension while providing attachment points for the systems of the car. Figure below represents this frame model. which is defined by the FSAE rules. the inboard suspension system had not been designed. Once the main points of the frame are defined in the model. the first roll hoop design can be placed into the model. the ³connect the dots´ phase could begin. At this point. Major Frame Components. This is needed because it represents a major component of the frame. 7 . Refer to Figure below for the frame design.Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis FSAE After the major components had been modeled.

this model is strictly for determining if the frame is a satisfactory structure. 4. which makes the modeling simpler since wall thickness optimization is limited. only a small selection of tube sizes can be used.035´ 3/4´ x 0.Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis FSAE Once all of the points have been connected. the number of tubes. Since accurately modeling a welded joint is beyond the undergraduate level. can be reduced to only two. the results could be viewed as an animation to expose any weak links.035´ 5/8´ x 0. This approach allows for quick ³what ifs.065´ (Roll Hoop Material) 1´ x 0. 8 . if an area appeared to be over-stressed. Also one of the designers found that tubes with long versus short spans between joints should have a larger area moment of inertia to increase the stiffness. which had bends in more than one plane. This analysis can be performed on a commercially available CAD/FEA software package like Solid Works or Catia. A more representative load could be applied by using a model with the suspension attached. To reduce the cost of the racecar. Beam elements can be used for the major frame structure while rod elements can be used for the suspension as illustrated in Figure below. Conclusion.´ For example. a different geometry for that joint could be substituted and modeled. The following tubing sizes can be used to construct the structure of the chassis: y y y y 1´ x 0. FEA Model After the model is solved.035´ To simplify the complexity of the frame construction. the frame is ready for finite element analysis.

it is very important to test the car sothat any design oversights will be highlighted beforecompetition. The stiffness of the frame is important because it affects the overall performance of the vehicle. concentrating on complexengineering techniques can be too time consuming for theamount of performance gained. Teams. 9 . a highly engineered car may notperform well unless there is time to manufacture and test. the design of the frame will require much iteration to achieve a balance. the end result will be a sound foundation for a FSAE car. A poorly engineered vehicle may not perform well at thecompetition. manufacturing. will gainthe most knowledge and experience from Formula SAE. Therefore.combined with the rigorous schedule of college. there are no right or wrong answers in the FSAE competition. The timeline of the competition will limit the number of iterations possible so that the car can be built and tested. If the basic design concepts have been applied to the frame and some thought has been given to the integration of each sub-system. limits thenumber of iterations for each design. The amount of time usedfor the design process subtracts from the time available formanufacturing and testing. If too much material is added to the frame in the quest for stiffness. During the design process. weight. Conversely. anddesign time so that their car will be competitive in all aspectsof the FSAE competition. Although this paper hasconcentrated on design. FSAE teamsshould use basic engineering concepts to design their car. the teamshould understand that it would take several iterations toconverge on a satisfactory design. Unlike the school environment. which finish their car and compete. performance. The timeline of the competition. it must also package all of the vehicle systems. Therefore. Constructing FSAE carsimparts to college students the knowledge of how to functionin real world design groups while also introducing them tothe entire design process involved in a product¶sdevelopment. and packaging. Not only must the frame be stiff and light.This will simplify the design process and allow the team tofinish the car as early as possible to allow for testing andredesign. the performance of the vehicle will be degraded because of the added mass.Anshul SinghalEngine and Chassis FSAE It is obvious that frame design is a compromise between stiffness. the team must achieve acompromise between cost.For the inexperienced FSAE team. However.

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