How is mechanical power transferred to the driven wheels of a vehicle? Why are vehicle suspension systems built the way they are?

RC car exploded component view.

Overview

In the RC car dissection, students get to dissect Traxxas remote control cars to discover the secrets hidden in a working scale model of an off-road vehicle. Students learn to examine and analyse the intricate engineering design of these RC cars part by part, in order to connect lecture material to the real-world. 

Course Connections

MTE 100

Within their first few months of study, first-year Mechatronics students were exposed to the design of a complete engineering system. Through this activity, students learn about differentials, universal joints, ball bearings, slip clutches, bevel gears, spur gears, springs, screws, ball joints, and much more.

ME 100

First-year Mechanical Engineering students were given the RC car as research for their ME 100 design project. Students explored and identified aspects of: materials engineering in the choice of components; solid mechanics in the suspension and car chassis; fluid mechanics in the hydraulic shock absorber/dampers; thermal engineering in the heat sink for the motor controller; machine design in the gearing and suspension; and mechatronics in the vehicle control and communications. 

ME 219

2A Mechanical Engineering students explored the cars and their mechanisms, used them as comparative research in vehicle design, and measured the weight distribution and the wheel load forces. The activity was an application of free-body analysis, which supplemented class discussions of a concept fundamental to solid and fluid mechanics.