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The Formula SAE design project enables engineering students to develop, analyze, build, and benchmark a Formula-style racecar. A differential was designed for VCU’s car to ensure that power is evenly distributed to the drive wheels under all possible handling conditions. A mounting system is required to secure the differential to the frame. Failure of this carrier could be catastrophic, therefore precise consideration of all possible forces and loading situations is required for design. A team was developed to examine how dynamic forces and fatigue contribute to component failure. Based on the results of this analysis a differential carrier can be designed and fabricated to ensure safe, reliable operation of the VCU Formula SAE car. After determining the magnitude of applied loads, finite element analysis (FEA) software was utilized to examine the loading effect on various design configurations. FEA allows accurate inspection of several nodes and elements within a specific component. This analysis allows one to determine material that can be removed from areas that experience no load allowing for a more efficient and effective design. Regions that exhibit high theoretical stresses can be redesigned to meet FSAE engineering standards allowing for efficiency in design while maintaining structural integrity. Numerous constraints must be considered including but not limited to the following: 1) Compliance to SAE regulations 2) Installation to a SAE designed frame 3) Budget limitations that preclude exotic materials or high-precision machining Preliminary results of the current iteration indicate very acceptable stresses and deflections. Further refinement will focus on weight reduction and improvement in machinability of the carrier. A finished product will be delivered by Q1 2015.

Publication Date



mechanical and nuclear engineering, carrier


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Frank A. Gulla

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2015

FSAE Rear Differential Carrier