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What is the overall goal of your project?

Conduct a feasibility study of using batteries as both the energy source and load-bearing structure in electric vehicles. The feasibility study will include vehicle performance metrics (range, acceleration, and for aircraft the rate of climb and takeoff distance), weight, cost, and safety issues such as crashworthiness including flammability due to the distribution of Li-ion batteries throughout the structure.

What is the key challenge your project is trying to solve?

The key challenge is to identify how the weight of a vehicle and a battery are distributed among their various components, and then determine which components of the battery can serve as both a battery and a structure, and finally calculate the performance gains by using batteries in vehicle structures.

What is the impact on society your project has?

Low air quality in cities is primarily due to vehicle emissions, which can be substantially reduced by using electric vehicles (EVs). However, EVscan gain widespread use only if their energy-to-weight ratios are dramatically increased, because batteries have much lower specific energy than gasoline. A solution can be sought in properly designed batteries that carry significant structural loads while providing power. Such a multifunctional structural power source would decrease the overall weight of EVs while maintaining crashworthiness.

Faculty Mentors: Drs. Boyd,  Naraghi, and Lutkenhaus

Majors of interest: MEEN, CHEN, MSEN, ECEN, AERO, CVEN