LABORATORY FACILITIES, MAJOR EQUIPMENT, AND OTHER RESOURCES
The following facilities, equipment, and resources are available on the UNC Charlotte campus.
1. The UNC Charlotte Race Shop has five student race teams and a total of 11 race cars in the shop. The cars are regularly under construction, being rebuilt, in track testing, racing, or put on display at local events. As a focus of operations for much of this research, UNC Charlotte has invested in the construction of this new 15,000 ft2 facility (two years old) dedicated to the motorsports program. Below, please find descriptions of some of the research and equipment associated with this building. Additionally, this facility supports these many programs with a complete fabrication and machine shop. It also has storage areas, a student meeting, computer, and study room, and a laboratory with shock dyno, coordinate measuring machine, tire rater, spring rater, flow bench (both dry and wet), and several other appropriate machines.
2. The Motorsports Shop is completing its upgrade to the Engine Dynamometer Laboratory. Besides being used in a mechanical engineering course called “Motorsports Instrumentation”, this dyno will be used to break-in and test the big V8 in the (predominantly engineering technology run) drag race car.
3. The UNC Charlotte Recirculating Water Tunnel is the fourth largest recirculating water tunnel in the United States is located in the UNC Charlotte Motorsports Shop. This facility is currently under construction and is expected to hold water this fall. It is scheduled for use with fluid dynamics research experiments that range from schooling efficiencies of robot fish, flow over helicopter rotors, and a collaborative program with Penske Racing on the drafting effects of multiple NASCAR bodies moving in a pack. The funding for this facility requires availability for use in undergraduate labs. Since it is the research program of the PI, it can and will be made available to engage freshmen and sophomore engineering students. The test section is 3m long and one meter square and the maximum flow velocity is 1 m/s.
4. The Electrical Engineering microelectronics clean room has much of the equipment needed for the additional ENGR 1202 project options mentioned. The microelectronics fabrication laboratory has 3000 square feet of class 1000 clean room space. This laboratory includes all of the necessary facilities to fabricate complex devices and integrated circuits. A recirculating deionized water system supplies the lab with high purity water. Purge and process gases are plumbed throughout the lab. Complete chemical cleaning and etching capabilities are included. The fabrication laboratory includes eight high temperature furnaces manufactured by Corso-Gray, Thermco, and Lindberg. These furnaces are used for high purity silicon oxidations, n and p type doping and diffusion, and high temperature anneals.
5. The Civil and Environmental Engineering Department recently took over and moved in to the Cameron Applied Research Center on Campus, which significantly increased the laboratory space and improved the classroom teaching capabilities. The department has a fully equipped, advanced soil testing laboratory, geosynthetics testing laboratory, high bay structural testing laboratory, environmental laboratory, and hydraulics laboratory that can be used in conjunction with the high school outreach program during the summer and will likely be used during the scheduled ENGR 1202 activities. The entire building has currently gone through extensive renovations to upfit this space to meet the needs of each research group following the transition.
6. UNC Charlotte has invested in a state of the art Motorsports Shop with space and financial support for the “49’er Legends Race Team”. This race team races in a series where the cars look like a small 1940’s Ford and the details of the race car design are tightly restricted. The students have been racing about 20 races per year in this series. The main engineering goal in this program is the setup or preparation of the car for the track conditions. This is very much like a NASCAR team does when it gets to the track. That is, making adjustments to the car for maximum handling balance and highest speed.
Also housed in the UNC Charlotte Motorsports Shop is the Classroom Formula Race Car. Formerly an FSAE car, this open wheeled race car is used in class room (race track) instruction in the motorsports instrumentation course, a course popular with mechanical, electrical, and technology students (as well as graduate students).
Also in the UNC Charlotte Motorsports Shop is the Drag Race Team. This team has a Chevrolet Camaro with a large and powerful V8 engine and huge ‘Meats’ or rear tires. For unknown reasons but possibly friendships, most of the students on this team come from engineering technology. This team has spent a tremendous amount of time building their newest engine. Nearby UNC Charlotte is the popular NASCAR track called “Lowes Motor Speedway”. The owner of Lowes Motor Speedway has recently opened a nationally ranked quarter mile drag strip. This local venue will help the students attract the attention of supporters and potential employers.
Also housed in the UNC Charlotte Motorsports Shop is the SAE Mini Baja race team. This team operates with the financial support of the university. The Baja team designs and builds an off road race car similar to a “dune buggy” or “four wheeler”. A new car is designed and built every year.
The final race team housed in the UNC Charlotte Motorsports Shop is the Formula SAE race team. This team operates with considerable financial support of the university. The Formula SAE team designs and builds a formula road race car similar to a Formula One or Indy car. Carbon fiber bodies, wide racing slicks, twin cam fuel injected engines are typical in this class. A new car is designed and built every year and the cars are extremely fast although the courses are so tight that the top speed is limited to less than 70 miles per hour.
All engineering classrooms are equipped with brand new, state of the art “smart lecterns” that have CD, DVD, VHS, PC, Power Point, networking, a camera-ready projector, and smart screen capabilities in addition to standard dry-erase boards. The College of Engineering at UNC Charlotte is serviced by the MOSAIC Engineering Computing Group. The MOSAIC system has over 300 Windows XP and UNIX workstations supporting state-of-the-art engineering and productivity software. All engineering students are issued an account on the system and workstations are generously distributed in all engineering academic and laboratory buildings on campus.
The UNC Charlotte Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (CMSTE) is part of a statewide network of centers established in 1984 by the North Carolina State Legislature known as the North Carolina Mathematics and Science Education Network. The mission of these centers is to leverage the physical and human resources of North Carolina Universities to improve K-12 science and mathematics instruction through professional development workshops for K-12 science and mathematics teachers. CMSTE provides a conduit for UNC Charlotte to interact easily with the math and science programs in K-12 schools.
The NC Motorsports and Automotive Research Center (NCMARC) is the research arm of the Motorsports Engineering program at UNC Charlotte. This research center formally supports this proposal and will provide tours of the shop and arrange for student team support as needed.
UNC Charlotte also has two ‘Dually’ four door pickup trucks including a 2008 GMC diesel pickup truck used to transport the race cars. Besides racing, some of the school race cars have been used in outreach programs and this tool allows for easy transportation. The truck and additional 24 foot, two-car capacity trailer will support the outreach portion of this NSF proposal.
And Last but not least is the Rapid Prototyping Lab in the Mechanical Engineering Department.