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Old 20th June 2008, 20:30   #16
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Thumbs up innovations

It's just a prototype - in all probablities, a one-off by an enthusiastic chap.
Don't expect to see rolling wooden chariots fly by on city streets just yet.

I like thiekind of invention - brings out the limitless creative potential in the human race.

Why not?
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Old 31st July 2008, 15:52   #17
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Default Wooden 700 bhp supercar

Well let's not pooh-pooh wood, as a supercar building material, friends!
No. Not just yet!

In Durham, NC, USA, post-grad students at North Carolina State Univ. have designed and built a wooden sports car as part of their post-grad project. The car is named Splinter.

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It's powered by a twin supercharged, 4.6 litre V8 that can put out 700 bhp. The engine is mated to a C5 Corvette transaxle driving the rear wheels. The woodie has a top speed of 380+ km/h.

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Making the car of wood posed design challenges, to get rid of engine heat, the cylinder head heat flow was reversed and the hot exhaust pipes had to be routed above the engine instead of below. The exhaust silencer is shaped like a spoiler and serves as such. Being in the slipstream helps dissipate the heat too.

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Why wood?
Wood has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than aluminium or steel and is easier to work on and shape. The technologists wanted to show the world that
  1. one can make something really fast and really strong out of wood
  2. wood isn't an old and antiquated low-technology material
The two-seat roadster has a 1,134kg moulded laminate body, made of maple wood, plywood, and MDF.

The chassis is of made laminated wood veneer.

If a bow (as in bow and arrow) could be of springy wood, so could the car's suspension. the suspension has laminated wooden arms and springs are made of Kentucky osage orange (hedge-apple) wood.

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Even the wheel rims are wooden in a major way.
They're 3-piece wheels with forged rims bolted to laminated oak veneer spokes and center section.

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An internal roll cage protects the occupants. They sit with their legs between the upper and lower A arms.

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Has wood been used for high tech vehicles before?
Haven't we heard of the 1940-56 de Havilland Mosquito, a late second world war fighter-bomber made of moulded plywood? It was indeed made of laminate of Canadian Birchwood and Ecuadorean balsa.

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The moulds were made of concrete. Two halves of the fuselage were separately moulded and glued together with casein glue. I have seen the moulds in the Deutsches Museum Oberschleiβheim, Munich.

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And it was not as if the British ran out of aluminum in WW2 -- they had enough. The designers found that wood beat aluminum as a construction material on some counts.

The Mosquito was powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin 1,710 bhp V12 engines and outperformed every other metal fighter in the sky.

It was so fast that nothing in the sky could catch it. And could carry twice the designed bomb payload. Could peak out at 680 km/h. The RAF affectionately called it names like "The Wooden Wonder" and "The Timber Terror".

What more can be said in favor of the age-old wonder material, wood? And we thought its use, was limited to dashboards and door-mouldings for British sports cars and luxury cars.


Ref: Joe Harmon Design-Building The Splinter Wooden Supercar
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Old 31st July 2008, 18:20   #18
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How have they made this wooden car able to meet crash and other safety regulations?
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Old 31st July 2008, 19:09   #19
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Default What of vehicle skins that don't buckle and crumple?

Originally Posted by theMAG View Post
How have they made this wooden car able to meet crash and other safety regulations?
Good question!

There are many high-tech materials used to construct cars, aircraft and watercraft that may not buckle and crumple like sheet steel and aluminum.
  1. How do fibre-glass cars like the Chevrolet Corvette and
  2. Kevlar-reinforced carbon fibre composite cars like the Koenigsegg CCX handle crash and other safety regulations?
  3. What about BMW's GINA (Fabric Car - The BMW GINA Light Visionary Model revealed) (Geometry & fns In 'N' Adaptions) which uses polyurethane coated SPANDEX textile stretched over a moveable structural subframe instead of the traditional steel and plastic body shell?

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Old 1st August 2008, 16:48   #20
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MDF (Medium density fiberboard) is far more susceptible to design than regular wood. Is MDF the material used in these prototypes?
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Old 2nd August 2008, 11:13   #21
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Default Strength in all three dimensions

MDF (medium density fibreboard) is grainless and isotropic along the plane of the board, so it's stronger than grained wood. Besides its flexibility allows shaping and moulding into curved surfaces.

However if the epoxy + polyester resin seal is damaged in a scrape, the material can swell due to moisture or shrink due to excessively dry weather.

3D Strength for the shell of this car comes from the ply laminations of maple wood and MDF. The crossed maple plies have strength along the X and Y directions and the MDF provides strength along the Z direction.
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