Senior Design 2020 – Mechanical Engineering Team 69
Mechanical Engineering Team 69
Christopher Bedron Matthew Germond Cassius Pac
Design and Optimization of a Formula SAE Impact Attenuator
Formula SAE is a worldwide, collegiate competition in which students design, build, and compete with open wheeled, Formula style race cars. All of these vehicles are required to have an impact attenuator mounted to the front of the vehicle, an energy absorbing device that serves the same purpose as a crumple zone on a production car. The goal of ME69 was to redesign UConn Formula SAE’s impact attenuator to make it both smaller and lighter while maintaining all safety requirements. To do this, material research and small scale material testing were conducted. This consisted of compression testing for energy absorption, as well as considering weight. Once key energy absorption metrics were calculated for each material, the team conducted simulation of the vehicle’s bulkhead, the forward most chassis member, and it’s interaction with the impact attenuator. This allowed the team to determine how well their new designs would work with the car. Ultimately, the use of new materials and strategic design has allowed ME69 to develop a lighter weight, smaller device, that still meets all Formula SAE rules.