Baja is made up of distinctive subsystems where members can apply their knowledge and expand upon their skills.
The brakes subsystem designs a reliable hydraulic system that slows and stops the car based on driver input. The system works by converting kinetic energy to thermal energy. Pressure, wheel speed, and acceleration are investigated to validate and tune vehicle dynamics.
The chassis subsystem designs a tube frame that integrates the designs of all other subsystems into one cohesive vehicle. The frame also has to protect the driver in case of a crash or rollover.
Composites integrates and utilizes composite materials throughout the car in order to save weight while maintaining structural integrity.
The CVT subsystem balances the speed and torque transmitted from the engine to the gearbox to maintain the engine at peak power and maximize the car's acceleration.
Electronics is in charge of obtaining data from multiple sensors integrated into the car, through the use of our Race Technology DL1 club DAQ. This summer we hope to begin the foundation for our own DAQ, built-off of a microcontroller and custom libraries. In addition, we display valuable information to the driver during our testing days and in our competitions. This information is changeable based on the need of the driver.
The goal of ergonomics is to design components that integrate well with other subsystems to improve driver’s performance and comfort. Driver performance is crucial for our team’s performance, especially in the 4 hour endurance race. Integration with the other subsystems is also important because the driver doesn't interact with the components directly, instead ergonomics must bridge that gap.
Our student-run manufacturing team uses state-of-the-art CNC machine tools to manufacture high-precision components out of aerospace grade alloys. We consistently hold tolerances of less than one thousandth of an inch (.001”) in order to maximize vehicle performance. We also work closely with our heat treatment and gear cutting sponsors to ensure that our parts arrive in spec and on time.
The powertrain is responsible for delivering power from the engine to all four wheels by controlling how the vehicle transmits torque. In the rear of the car we use an electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (eCVT) with a fixed-ratio transfer case to transmit power from a Briggs and Stratton Model 19 engine to the rear half-shafts to turn the wheels. To transmit power to the front of the vehicle we use two sets of bevel gears to drive a prop shaft and Spool type differential. In order to maintain good steering characteristics and improve efficiency, we use a set of custom freewheels in each front hub that only transmit torque in one direction. All of our wheels use Rzeppa style constant velocity joints to allow for high suspension travel. Finally we use special light weight off road tires and rims mounted on custom hubs to put the power to the ground and send our car barreling down the track.
The Baja car's steering system consists of an aluminum rack and pinion interface and is designed to provide tactile feedback and predictable handling for the vehicle. Steering assists suspension in creating favorable vehicle dynamics, with the main goal of preparing the car for the maneuverability event at competition.
Suspension kinematics is responsible for developing tests to manipulate suspension parameters with the intention to create performance curves. These curves are then used to create a compliant and maneuverable car.
Suspension structures designs and tests suspension components to maximize performance while maintaining a robust, lightweight system.
The shocks subsystem designs and implements tests to determine event specific shock tuning for the purpose of producing a reliable system with versatile performance. Compression and rebound damping are adjusted to maximize driver confidence and to enhance kinematic characteristics determined by suspension geometry.