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Bradley University Formula SAE

Dura-Bar Metal Services Supports Student Engineers

bradley-fsae-carSenior Engineering students from Bradley University (Peoria, IL) recently competed in Formula SAE®, an annual collegiate design competition. The competition is organized by SAE International (formerly Society of Automotive Engineers) and includes teams from more than 120 universities. Each team is responsible for designing and building an open wheel racer that adheres to the competition's stringent design criteria and safety regulations. Cars are judged in events that test acceleration, aesthetics, braking, endurance, and fuel economy.

The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style car. The prototype racer is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. The target market group for the race car is the non-professional weekend autocross racer. Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules whose purpose is both to ensure onsite event operations and promote clever problem solving.

Bradley University incorporates the competition into its Mechanical Engineering curriculum as a senior design project. The project is divided into three teams: frame, drive train and suspension/controls. While each team has its own discipline, they are also required to work together to build the car from the ground up. The team is responsible for all aspects of the design as well as adhering to a set budget.

In March, students from the suspension/controls design team reached out to Dura-Bar Metal Services for material to produce their brake rotors. The student designed rotors specified Dura-Bar G2 gray iron due to its excellent thermal expansion, thermal conductivity, wear resistance and frictional properties. The Dura-Bar material was donated to help the team stay under budget and the 10" rotors were waterjet cut and blanchard ground to their finished dimension.

The event took place May 8-11, at Michigan International Speedway with The University of Stuttgart (Germany) taking first place out of 126 teams. The Bradley University team placed 53rd and managed to complete all 5 phases of the competition (more than half the teams did not). For more information on the competition or to see how other teams finished in the competition, please visit http://students.sae.org/competitions/formulaseries/.