GWU SAE Baja Dynamometer Open Access
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The GW SAE Mini Baja team is a collegiate club that participates in designing, building, and testing a student-built buggy that is used to compete in an annual intercollegiate competition. The competition consists of various trials that test the car's acceleration, torque, maneuverability, and durability, among other factors. Although the engine is provided and modifications to the engine are prohibited, the team has full control over the transmission and gearbox of the drivetrain and can make improvements on these components to maximize their desired torque and horsepower outputs. An engine dynamometer would allow the Baja team to calibrate the transmission, compare new and old components, and evaluate the condition of the drivetrain after harsh competition trials. A cost-effective system was designed that measures the angular acceleration of an inertial mass, powered by the drivetrain, to calculate the drivetrain's torque and horsepower outputs. A constant known load was applied to the mass under acceleration to elongate the testing time and achieve adequate data points for calculations. The completed dynamometer system was successfully able to support both the static load of the engine and the dynamic loads of the flywheel and brake. Instantaneous, accurate measurements of the angular speed and acceleration were obtained using the onboard computer and sensor. According to the dynamometer, the engine's maximum output was found to be 14.10 lb-ft of torque and 10.61 HP which closely matches the theoretical engine specifications of 14.50 lb-ft and 10.00 HP.