By Oscar Ta (Optical Engineering ‘18)

Our Baja team is in partnership with a composite company, Laird Plastics. In previous years, they have been the plastics distributor our team has received materials from. Following up this year, Laird Plastics requested us to test applications for their strongest plastic.

Their material, KyronMAX, offers mechanical properties comparable to metals. For example, KryonMAX is said to have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel, which can save volume on design.

We started to test the material by cutting a steering wheel out of a 6’’ by 11’’ sheet of the composite.

Amazingly, the material withstood the heat from a 0.75’’ diameter bit, spinning at 10000rpm on a CNC router. Noticing the unexpected resilience of the material, we raised the idea of testing the material under more stressful conditions.

Natural curiosity pushed us to wonder how it would break. Our next step is to test the material with a part under more stressful conditions than a simple steering wheel. The rear caliper mounting plate on the gearbox is a perfect candidate because it must withstand constant vibration.

A full-fledged report will be written from our Baja team. Hopefully, the results of this partnership will spearhead future company partnerships from our team.