Another spectacular season of 2.00gokart has been produced! This time, instead of holding the garage challenge like I have done in the past, I decided to reuse the “road course” that our group put together for the summer SUTD visiting students. Why?
As awesome and science filled the garaging is, it’s kind of boring. It’s a great theory-to-reality comparison: the mostly-straight course (Let’s face it, 100 foot turn circles for a go-kart is basically just bad toe trim), is all uphill at the same grade the whole way, and of consistent traction characteristics. It’s easily analyzable by relatively simple first order estimates of gravity, rolling resistance, air drag, and drivetrain loss.
But its downsides are also many: there’s no line of sight from one garage level to the next, so we had to use a network of 2-way radios. The narrow concrete-lined end turns required padding or shielding to satisfy the safety office and make sure students don’t actually wham themselves (these two goals are mostly divergent). And of course, to collect the best data, only one team goes at a time, so there’s no head-to-head element, and a lot of waiting.
I put together the road course idea because the summer students weren’t really in it for grade or explicitly to learn some engineering curriculum. Since that artificial carrot was gone, I figured that the final competition should be a lot more fun-oriented, and what’s more fun that running your peers over with a go-kart you build yourself?
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