João Guilherme Prado - Brazil
João is an undergraduate mechanical engineering student at the State University of Campinas. In 2014, he met and joined FSAE Unicamp Team, an interdisciplinary group of students who design, build and compete with formula style racing cars in events promoted by the Society of Automotive Engineering. By the end of the same year he founded the Aerodynamics Division and presented the team's first aero package in the 35th Michigan FSAE Competition a year later, in 2015.
Together with the vehicle dynamic's director by that time, André Sbrocco, João developed a study about the technical viability of changing the bellcrank's material from aluminum to a more environmental friendly one, motivated by the belief that this role as an engineer is to somehow return to society the knowledge that a public institution has provided to him. And this principle was the core of the lecture that he presented at the YPLC Brazil final in 2017.
After spending one semester taking business units at the University of Bath (UK), João has returned to Brazil to finish his undergraduate studies. He is also working on a job rotation internship for Dover Corporation, and every gap he finds in his routine is spent with his friends and family.
High Strength Steel (HSLA) in high-performance vehicle suspension bellcrank: Beyond the usual engineering perspective
Typical engineering analyses for material selection rely on two aspects; performance and cost. However, the engineer's role should go further than that. We must use our knowledge and consciousness to minimise environmental damage and protect our society. The development of a suspension bellcrank started with a study to determine material indexes to assess each of the design requirements; minimize mass, cost and environmental impacts. Data acquired on track provided realistic inputs to refine the initial figures through a Finite Element (FEM) Analysis. That step resulted in two final materials; High Strength Low Alloy (HSLA) steel and Aeronautical Aluminum.
Typical analyses would have ended here; an aluminum part weighting 28% less than a HSLA one would have made up for its 21% higher cost. However, aluminum's embodied energy is six times higher than HSLA. This led to a deeper evaluation of aluminum's production process considering socio-environmental factors, which turned the tables and resulted in the selection of HSLA to manufacture the bellcrank.