After months of hard work, the Rensselaer Motorsport team, which represents Rensselaer in the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) competition, unveiled their new car to a crowd of family, friends, and alumni. Formula SAE is the world’s largest intercollegiate engineering and design competition, and the team competes annually in Michigan each May against over 120 schools from around the world. Each car is built from scratch, which provides students an excellent opportunity to gain experience in design, manufacturing, team leadership, and fundraising.
According to Noah Dropkin, team leader of Rensselaer Motorsport, the new car, RM23, features significant improvements to the car’s aerodynamics, frame, engine, and electrical system. The design of the custom steel-tube frame, which is fabricated entirely by students, has been improved through the use of FEA (finite element analysis) software to achieve a much stiffer frame with little weight penalty compared to last year’s car.
Similarly, Dropkin said, new computational fluid dynamics software has been used to improve the car’s aerodynamics, with emphasis placed on generating downforce, which allows the car to corner faster. The 600cc Honda CBR600RR motorcycle engine has been upgraded with new pistons, custom modification of the engine block, and a dry-sump oil system. The new car is Rensselaer’s first time to use a MoTec Engine Control Unit and display, which enables the team much more accurate control of the engine and opens new data collection opportunities. The team hopes all of these improvements will power them to a strong finish in May.
For more information and to keep up with the team, visit their Facebook page at Facebook.com/RPIFSAE.