The graduate and undergraduate students are part of a team competing in EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future, a three-year collegiate engineering competition established by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. They've spent the past year planning their design with the goal of making the GM-donated car a better, more efficient hybrid vehicle than what is currently on the roadways. Now, they get to see their hard work pay off as they begin to implement their design into the car.
The EcoCAR 2 competition challenges the next generation of automotive engineers to reduce the environmental impact of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability. UT is one of 15 universities in North America participating in the challenge.
A year into the competition, the students have used math-based tools to model and design their own unique architecture for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. They'll select the system's powertrain components the same way major automakers do.
"The real-world experience these students are receiving is invaluable," said David Irick, co-adviser and research professor in the College of Engineering's Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering. "They will actually get to see something they've developed in practice. But what is more is that we are training our future engineers to create products that take into account the environmental impact."
The arrival of the Malibu marks the official entry into Phase II of the competition where the design is applied to the car. The design, called series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle architecture, will improve the vehicle's environmental impact and efficiency in three ways.
First, the vehicle will be able to couple and de-couple the engine from the wheels while still providing electric power from the battery and/or generator to drive an electric motor. Second, the vehicle will have a large, high-voltage battery pack which allows the vehicle to run on electric power. If the battery—which can be charged using a standard wall outlet—gets depleted, the vehicle will use a combination of an engine and electric motor. Third, the vehicle will utilize E85 fuel which is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and burns cleaner.
"The technology in these advanced vehicles is allowing us to use multiple sources of energy within the vehicle, which, in the end, allows us to use less fuel more efficiently on an average commute," said Mitchel Routh, controls team lead and a graduate student in mechanical engineering.
While translating their design into reality, the team is also developing a working vehicle that meets the competition's goals. The competition culminates at the end of each academic year when all of the schools and their vehicles come together to compete in more than a dozen static and dynamic events. UT won sixth place in Phase I's competition. Winners receive cash awards. Since 1989, UT has had more than 500 students participate in similar projects.
GM provides production vehicles, vehicle components, seed money, technical mentoring and operational support to EcoCAR 2. The DOE and its research and development facility, Argonne National Laboratory, provide competition management, team evaluation and technical and logistical support. In total the 15 teams have been given $745 million. UT's team has received additional support of $50,000 from Denso North America Foundation.
For more information on the student engineering program, the participating schools, or the competition sponsors, please visit www.ecocarchallenge.org or www.greengarageblog.org.
The quest for the oldest ice on Earth
14.11.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Empa Innovation Award for new flame retardant
09.11.2016 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences