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Chassis Design

Chassis Design

Chassis Design


I've recently joined a group of hobbyists making the step from superkart racing to full size hydrogen racing cars. For this car, they've decided to order a tubular chassis from an experienced racing company. It will be my task to place all components on this chassis, finding a balance between the criteria given to me by my collegues (power cable lengths, cooling pipes, ducts,accessability,...) and the handling of the car (CG location, inertia, driver location...). My knowledge on this subject is at however at this time fairly limited. I'm currently studying Milliken's Race Car Vehicle Dynamics, read some books on chassis design by Costin, Phipps, Terry, Baker and have access to a copy of Race Car Aerodynamics: Designing for Speedc by Joseph Katz, while also upping my skills in CAD design with Solidworks.

Due to lack of funds (currently unemployed), I can't just buy any book that might be usefull to me. I have a list of three books that caught my eye:
Engineer to Win (Carroll Smith) http://www.amazon.com/Engineer-Motorbooks-Workshop...
Chassis Design: Principle and Analysis (Milliken) http://books.sae.org/book-r-206
Race Car Engineering & Mechanics (Van Valkenburgh) http://www.amazon.com/Race-Engineering-Mechanics-P...

I'm hoping someone here could tell me if any of these books would be particulary helpful to fullfilling my task, and if perhaps someone knows of any other books (or software) that are worth a read?

RE: Chassis Design

I've read the first two. Smith's books are useful and practical, I doubt the Milliken will help you at all, and I doubt Smith much, with what is essentially a packaging task. The Milliken book is a great read.

Guilty secret - packaging is most easily done with a full sized buck and a willingness to tear it up, rather than a CAD package. Make some foam blocks representing each component and tape them in place and cut cardboard up and tape that in place to represent structure.

The main thing with a race car is to get the weight down, in both senses. If you find a lighter solution that raises CGZ, then you will need to have a think.

It might help if I had a look at the rules of the class - are they freely available?


Greg Locock

New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Chassis Design

The class this vehicle is being designed for doesn't currently exist really, because the fuel being used is very rare in racing at this time. We will most likely be using LeMans GT rules for part of the vehicle.

I like the idea of the foam blocks. However, CAD won't be completely ruled out, as I most likely will be starting design before the chassis actually arrives. I will bring it up in our next meeting though, thank you.

RE: Chassis Design

Some things are easier to simulate in real life using foam. Other things that are tedious to cut-and-try in real life, like exhaust manifolds, plumbing, etc. are often more easily simulated using a good CAD package. Like you say, it is good to have both options open to you. Solidworks has put out several tutorials on YouTube for the Formula SAE crowd that addresses these problems. They can be useful (even if you're not using SW). At some point early in the design process, you'll have to start with a list of rules-mandated features that need to be placed in a particular location. Firewalls, fuel tanks, driver controls, safety devices etc. often have specific verbiage in the rules that limit where they can physically be placed, either in relation to the driver or to other vehicle features. Everything else must go in around this stuff.

RE: Chassis Design

Although I haven't read the Milliken Book (but from the table of contents, it seems to be fairly similar to Race Car Vehicle Dynamics), I will agree with GregLocock.

I've read Van Valkenburgh and I think it will be more helpful and practical for the design & building process. Another one, very similar, would be Chassis Engineering by Herb Adams. If I had to choose between the two, I would still prefer Van Valkenburgh though. But then, the price of both is still cheaper than the Milliken book.

This site might be helpful for you: Build your own race car!

RE: Chassis Design

Just out of perverse curiosity, what are the parameters of the cars? Standardized engine packages?
Open wheel or closed? Road course, or oval?

Jay Maechtlen

RE: Chassis Design

We're aiming at a lemans GT-style car, hydrogen powered. Our hopes are to fill a spot in lemans 24h outside category, like the Nissan Deltawing.
Closed wheel, road course. See http://www.greengt.com/en/greengt-h2.php (not us, we're working with a lot less experience and a lot less budget).

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