students racing vehiclesStudents put their potential energy vehicles through their paces.

Engineering students to test innovative energy vehicles

Like the automotive sector, an engineering dynamics class at the University of Windsor is focusing on lightweighting and energy efficiency to advance automotive innovation.

The second-year students have designed and created vehicles that rely solely on potential energy — stored energy that transforms into kinetic energy as an object moves.

Teams from professor Bill Altenhof’s course will be given two minutes to test their potential energy vehicles at 10 a.m. Friday, November 18, in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation’s Industrial Courtyard.

“This exercise is an opportunity to expose students to practical applications of the principles of dynamics, and concept of mechanics,” said Dr. Altenhof, a mechanical and materials engineering professor.

Using only popsicle sticks, common household string, carpenter’s glue, duct tape and standard sized CDs or DVDs, teams must design, analyze and construct vehicles no taller than 200 centimetres and no heavier than 2.8 kilograms. Each vehicle must have a locking emergency brake.

A two-kilogram weight attached to each vehicle at the starting line will act as fuel to propel the car forward. The teams will be graded on the ability of their vehicles to navigate through a specific path constraint and stop at a pre-defined location.