CLEMSON, SC – January 21, 2009 – Automotive-engineering graduate students at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) collaborated with a unique vehicle development company to design an automotive suspension system that can handle speeds in excess of 240 mph.
Because CU-ICAR fills the gap between basic research and commercial application of automotive technologies, DiMora Motorcar challenged it to assess suspension-technology options for the Natalia SLS 2 sport luxury sedan. A team of students, under faculty supervision, accepted that challenge last semester.
“This kind of project provides our students invaluable real-world experience, and the quick turnaround time and results show they were up to the challenge,” said Steve Hung, associate professor of mechanical engineering and team faculty leader.
Based in Palm Springs, Calif., DiMora Motorcar crafts automobiles designed to exceed expectations for safety, performance, technology, ecology, beauty, comfort and luxury. It reveals the design, production and testing of its automobiles via the Internet so that people around the world can learn from and participate in the process.
“DiMora Motorcar is about showcasing new technologies,” said Carl Flesher, CU-ICAR director of Global Business Development. “CU-ICAR is about developing the methods and people to make showcase technologies ready for the automotive original-equipment manufacturer market.”
Road conditions vary greatly, so experts agree an automobile’s suspension is crucial to a safe and smooth ride. An effective suspension system will maximize the mechanical grip between the tires and the road’s surface, enhance steering stability and provide a comfortable ride for the occupants. The Natalia sedan has to thrive in all road environments, including bad weather, so the suspension must be compatible with all-wheel drive and have the ability to clear common road obstacles. On the other hand, the vehicle also must be controllable at speeds above 240 mph, so body response to driver input and road excitations must be well controlled across a broad speed range. A unique design-driven requirement is the use of 275/40R24 tires.
Using numerous advanced digital design and verification processes, preliminary DiMora Motorcar vehicle parameters and computer-aided-design for the Natalia, the CU-ICAR graduate team generated a solution that includes short-long arm architectures for both front and rear suspensions, titanium control arms and wheel carriers, and combination air spring and damper units.
The concept design services the requirement for all-wheel drive, minimizes suspension weight and allows for rear-wheel steering to enhance directional stability at high speeds as well as maneuverability at low speeds. The concept design also will help DiMora Motorcar package other vehicle systems that yield the right levels of performance without significant changes to the suspension system.
“This was our first opportunity to test the ability of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research to tackle a difficult engineering problem that is critical to meeting the performance parameters we have set for the Natalia,” noted DiMora Motorcar Founder Alfred DiMora. “The designs they produced are excellent. We were already impressed by CU-ICAR’s facilities, equipment and staff. Now we know that the graduate students working here are outstanding as well. We look forward to a long and productive association with Clemson University.”
Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is a 250-acre advanced-technology research campus where university, industry and government organizations collaborate. Offering the nation’s only Ph.D. program in automotive engineering, the master’s and doctoral programs are among the most exceptional in the country due to the world-class faculty, industry involvement in curriculum development and more than $40 million of research facilities and equipment.
Successful automotive-technology application requires availability of methods that span design-development integration of technologies to parts, systems and vehicles; manufacturing and supply integration of processes from material sourcing through part creation, assembly and delivery; and concurrent engineering integration of design and development with manufacturing and supply. CU-ICAR conducts research that provides value by addressing the need for these integration methods.
CU-ICAR is a place for entrepreneurial collaboration and partnership between the university, industry and government to quickly address market needs together in ways that facilitate economic growth. To learn more about CU-ICAR, visit http://www.cu-icar.com/.
About DiMora Motorcar
The founder, CEO and driving force behind DiMora Motorcar is Alfred DiMora, who produced two of America’s finest luxury automobiles, the Clenet (as owner) and the Sceptre (as co-founder). When President Reagan declared 1986 the Centennial Year of the Gasoline-Powered Automobile, DiMora’s Clenet was selected as the Official Centennial Car. As a result, he and the Clenet were honored at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Michigan. He also founded Starbridge Systems Inc., where he developed the world’s fastest FPGA supercomputer. Using his technological and automotive backgrounds, Alfred DiMora blends the two worlds together to create this new experience in automotive history: the Natalia SLS 2 sport luxury sedan. For more information, please visit http://www.dimoramotorcar.com/.