Wednesday, January 6, 2010

001: The Camel


I made this design in SolidWorks during my final design project for my Mechanical Engineering bachelor's degree. Our team, consisted of 6 members, chose to design and build a Supermileage Vehicle, in order to participate at the Society of Automotive Engineers SAE Supermileage Competition, in which teams compete to build a fuel-efficient vehicle that uses the least amount of fuel to go a specified distance. Unfortunately, circumstances, such as the impossibility of meeting the final deadline, budget limits and rejected visa applications, sighs, all made sure to crush our dreams in participating in the competition. However, we succeeded in completing the whole vehicle design, as well as, finishing a large percentage of the production and manufacturing process. Although we got the highest grade for the design project course, and although we were one of the best groups if not the best, during that year, not being able to participate in the competition made us think of the whole experience as a failure. However, looking back at it now, I think of it as a huge success, because I would not have gained all this experience, and I would not have discovered my abilities in hardworking and extreme devotion to achieve my desired goals if it was not for this project. After all, "it is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success, they much oftener succeed through failures."

During the first stages of designing the body shell of the vehicle, I created many designs with many different concepts in an attempt to test and chose the best one, mainly judging from the generated aerodynamic forces and the overall weight. The body shell design shown above is the exact one that was chosen as the final design, excluding the rear spoiler wing, of course. Obviously, the rear spoiler would normally increase both the drag force and the overall weight (down force) which we are trying to avoid in the first place, however, at a later stage, I had this crazy idea in adding a spoiler thinking that by finding a way to change the pressure difference, we might achieve some overall drag reduction that would accumulate for the increased surface friction from the spoiler. Frankly speaking, all this was just to cover up for the fact that I just loved the way the vehicle looks with a spoiler! Anyway, the only way to judge is to test and compare the vehicle performance with and without a spoiler, and I might do this for a future post after posting other components of this project or, surely, if I ran out of new ideas.

For more information about The Camel, check out our project website, designed by me, here.