Team Interviews: Brend Sas
--Brend Sas: Mechanical Systems--
Brend Sas is in his final year of Electromechanics and is in charge of the car’s Mechanical Systems. He does this together with his fellow student Kaylian De Lange.
Where does your motivation come from to participate with Punch Powertrain Solar Team?
“Since my youth, I have always been interested in mechanics and how things work. That is also the main reason behind my choice to do Engineering Sciences at the Catholique University of Louvain and my further choices for electromechanics. However, I did not only want to have a theoretical study at the university, but also wanted to have practical knowledge and apply this. Then you see the car and the advertising for it in the buildings of Group T and you get fascinated. That is why I applied for the team. After sending my motivational letter and two interviews with former members of the Solar Team, I was selected. From that moment onwards everything started here for me.”
What does your specific function contain?
“Together with my colleague Kaylian De Lange, we are responsible for the planning and construction of the different mechanical systems, such as the suspension, the steering and the brakes of the car. Since the goal of the race is to create a car that is as light as possible, all parts have to be custom made as well. An example are the breaks. These are not based on those of an ordinary car but on the brakes of a go-cart. These are lighter and fit in the space that we are given in the car.”
How does the creation of parts happen?
“In a first phase we are mostly working together with the aerodynamics. They give us a specific amount of space in the car that we can use to place our parts. Next we draw these parts in CAD programs in order to create these as optimal as possible according to the requirements that the aerodynamics demand. Additionally, we work together with the structural department. For this we use different simulations to simulate the forces that are working on these parts, while we are driving and if the parts can sustain these powers. A good example for this is how our suspension holds up when we drive over a hill. Everything has to be calculated as optimally as possible. After all plans have been made, we send these to different milling machinists to cut the part to size.”
What is the most important thing that you have learned from this experience?
“In my opinion it is that I enriched my eduction by this. With this project I am getting a large amount of practical knowledge that I will be able to use in my further career and the experience to start my professional career. Apart from that, you also get a lot of responsability. Kaylian and I are responsible for all mechanical parts. So if everything performs well during the race, it is a very satisfying feeling to know that you accomplished that. You learn to have a strong character as well, you want to win that race and you commit for 100% to the task that you are responsible for.”