Design and Optimization of a Formula SAE® Frame 2006-01-1009
Frame design and optimization is a difficult subject for inexperienced designers to grasp. In the application of the Formula SAE® car frame, it is the largest and most complex single component in the system. The structure must meet competition rules and regulations while remaining lightweight, rigid, and must act as the central mounting bracket for all other systems and components. The design of the frame is dissolved into a procedure that includes research, modeling, optimization, and testing. Each step in the procedure is further broken down to a set of actions that may be performed to accomplish that stage of the frame design. This work is presented as an abstract method of frame design - a guide versus an instruction manual. Therefore, results are not numeric or concrete. The data presented is an example of how the University of Idaho chose to measure candidate frame designs. The result of this procedure is a frame design that encompasses the desired traits set forth by the designer and the intent of the competition. Conclusions will also be drawn on the usability of the procedure for students participating in the Formula SAE® competition.