Students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will demonstrate the engineering principles of off-road vehicles by racing a student-built and -designed Baja vehicle as part of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)-International Baja SAE Illinois Conference.
The conference will be held Wednesday, June 4, through Saturday, June 7, at the Caterpillar Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center in Edwards, Ill.
Missouri S&T’s Baja SAE Design Team will compete against approximately 100 other collegiate teams from around the world in a series of competitions, comprised of both races and presentations. Each team was tasked with building a vehicle prototype that, theoretically, could be selected for manufacturing and sold to the public.
Teams will first give a formal design presentation to judges, along with a technical display and cost report. The race portion of the competition is split into five events. The events include a hill climb, and maneuverability, suspension and acceleration tests. The final event is a four-hour endurance race. The course will be riddled with obstacles the vehicles must avoid. Teams will be assessed penalties for infractions like poor or dangerous driving or running out of gas while on the track.
This year’s vehicle features an outer shell made from a combination of carbon fiber and fiber glass. The 400-pound car also has a student-made, CNC-machined transmission case, air shocks and a steel chassis. Missouri S&T’s team focused on cornering and a solid rear suspension this season in designing its car. The car can reach up to 40 miles an hour during the events.
Randall Lewis, an instructional lab coordinator in mechanical and aerospace engineering at S&T, is the Baja Team advisor.