Mechanical Engineering Department
BS in Mechanical Engineering
The work accomplished by the Black Gold team improved upon the carbon fiber compression molding research and information available on the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus. The team used the rear suspension rocker arm off a Ventana Alpino mountain bike as a design goal for this project. This research and body of work includes the methods used to design a compression molded part for complex part loading and shape. This extends to the process of choosing an appropriate layup process, in addition to benefits and drawbacks of the use of chopped fibers in compression molding. The research includes the process and information required to build aluminum molds for compression molded parts of complex shape; manufacturing techniques, and suggestions for the use of compression molding carbon fiber. Finally, data is presented which compares the final compression molding results under ultimate and relative stiffness testing to a comparable part made from aluminum. Ultimately, the team found that compression molding proved to be a potential manufacturing alternative. The rocker arms produced by the team were able to withstand a load of up to 800lbs; meeting the teams initial design criteria before experiencing localized fractures. With future iteration, and more focus on design for loading, the process could yield parts which could carry much higher loads. In addition, the use of chopped fiber around the bearings regions was a success, ultimately showing that a combination of chopped and cloth fiber was a useful load carrying combination. Further research in these processes would definitively improve upon the results obtained by the team, and as information regarding compression molding increases the team expects its use to become more popular.