Chassis Update: Black Magic

Hello again everyone! Things have been busy as usual at EcoCar. The Mec E’s have been hard at work building Alice‘s chassis: the “skeleton” of the car. Apart from holding the suspension, aeroshell, electrical boards, and hydrogen fuel cell together, the chassis plays a critical role in the overall stability and structure of the car. Needless to say, this is one of the car’s most important components.

The new chassis started out as a SolidWorks model where modifications were made to the previous generation to make it thinner, lighter and more streamlined. As always, this involved frustration, a few screen punches and other minor incidents due to the complexity of the project. The silver lining is that, a project like this demonstrates the importance of good file management practices and their effect on efficiency.

Next, we moved on to an initial foam build of the chassis. The foam was hand-cut and the pieces were then glued together. Once the glue was dry and the structure was rigid enough, holes were cut to accommodate the steering system and air intake.

Chassis Initial Foam Build
Chassis Initial Foam Build

After that, we needed to size and cut some good old carbon fiber – what some people like to call woven black magic (ok maybe that’s just me). At this stage, the fiber behaves very much like cloth and is easy to cut. So far, the carbon fiber has been cut and is waiting to be applied on to the chassis. The current plan is to do this during reading week. This carbon fiber will then be layered on to the foam and hardened with eco-resin. This is done by creating a vacuum around the entire chassis and waiting for the resin to saturate the fiber.

Here are some pictures from the carbon fiber cutting sessions for the new chassis…

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…and some more pictures from the previous gen chassis build:

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Here’s hoping everything goes to plan. We hope you’re looking forward to reading week as much as we are. Cheers!

About Adnan Arif

A fourth year Chemical Engineering student at the U of A, Adnan is passionate about alternative energy, climate change and computer programming. Between assignments, exams and killing people in GTA, he tries to find time to work on EcoCar's Electrical and PR teams.