The 2012 Car

The 2012 Car

Features At A Glance

– 4130 Chromoly Steel & 3Al-2.5V Titanium
– Weight: 63 lbs
– MoTeC M400 ECU
– MoTeC CDL3 Dash and Data Logger
– Student designed
– Fully Adj. Penske Shocks
– 6Al-4V Titanium
– 10” Hoosier LC-0
– Magnesium Wheel Centers
– Magnesium Centerlock Wheel Nuts
– Modified Honda CRF450X
– Hinson Slipper Clutch
– Custom Electronic Fuel-Injection System
– Student designed Air Intake and Exhaust Systems
– 5-speed sequential transmission
– 55 bhp, 45 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.0 s
Weight (wet): 300 lb
w/150lb driver: 450 lb
Power/Weight: 366 hp/ton
w/driver: 244 hp/ton
Top Speed: 104 mph
Max Lat. Acceleration: 1.3 G’s

The Car

As in years past, our 2012 Penn State FSAE car was a natural evolution of the previous car. Since our team’s first year in 1994, the core design philosophy for Penn State Racing has been to produce simple, lightweight, and reliable cars, and this past year was no different. While there were some minor changes from the previous 2011 design, our team utilized the same single-cylinder platform as used in the previous three seasons.

This year’s car weighed in at exactly 300 lbs at competition, making it our team’s third-lightest car, and the second lightest at this year’s competition. While there were some weight-adding changes to the design, a number of weight-saving changes had also been made, primarily in the composites area.

While the 2011 car utilized a variable-geometry turbocharger mated to the Honda CRF450X engine, this year, our team decided to return to the naturally-aspirated setup, in order to simplify and lighten the design while maintaining a very favorable power-weight ratio. The same MoTeC M400, as used in 2011, was kept. New for this year was the MoTeC CDL3, which not only served as a simple dash unit, displaying everything from RPM, water/oil temperatures, speed, etc, but also logged numerous student-designed and built data channels.

One of the primary drivetrain changes for this year was the substitution of the Torsen Type I torque-biasing differential for the Drexler clutch-pack differential. This new limited slip differential not only saved some considerable weight, but allowed the driver to apply more power earlier when exiting a corner, thus making better use of the engine’s low-end torque, afforded by the single-cylinder engine.

As in past years, the same 4130 Chromoly Steel mainframe was used in conjunction with the Titanium 3Al-2.5V rear-subframe. For the second year allowable, the Alternate Frame rules were utilized, producing a stronger and lighter frame than possible with the standard frame rules. The combined weight of the frame (main-frame and sub-frame together) was just 62 lbs.

As in both 2010 and 2011, the same 10” Hoosier LC-0 tires were kept. Also retained from the 2011 design were the Kaz Technologies Penske shocks, designed and built specifically for Formula SAE use. As for suspension geometry, only marginal changes were made to better utilize the grip afforded by the Hoosier tires.

One of the other primary areas for improvement in the 2012 design was in the composites area. In previous years, a wet-layup process, considered “old-fashioned” was used, due to knowledge and resource limitations. While, in essence, the same wet-layup process was used, a vacuum bagging process was added, making the carbon fiber pieces both stronger and lighter. In addition, all molds used were CNC milled, rather than being sanded and shaped by hand. This expedited the whole process, thus saving valuable build time. Most of the changes in composites design and fabrication were made possible with the assistance from Penn State ARL and Dr. Juska. Our team looks forward to further advancing its composites capabilities in upcoming years.

Overall, our team felt that the 2012 car was one of the strongest designs our team has made in many years, despite an unfortunate chain on events prior to and at competition that kept the car from shining. While the team will be departing from the single-cylinder platform in the 2013 season, we feel that the single-cylinder platform used in the past four iterations of Penn State Racing’s cars were excellent Formula SAE cars, perhaps just not one best suited for our team’s capabilities and strengths.

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