Article Image
Article Image

For my senior project I was on a team of 4 competing in the ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. My role was the design and construction of the aerodynamic fairing, while the other three members of the team we’re responsible for the frame, drive train, and project management.

At this time I already had a few years of experience with composite construction from building longboards, which was a valuable base of knowledge to build off of when approaching this project. The photos below document the fairing design, fluid dynamics testing, material testing, and construction of the fairing.


2D sketch based on the dimensions of the frame and size of our tallest rider SolidWorks models of three fairing concepts, 3 is a bit out there, with the fairing mold around the riders knees. SolidWorks Flow Simulation of each design The final design, with a balance of aerodynamics and visibility for the rider.


Composite material test samples, using Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass and a variety of core materials in different combinations. Test to determine yield strength of each layup. Wooden templates made by slicing up the CAD model Each set of templates sandwiched a number of 2" thick foam sheets, I used a hot wire cutter to cut the foam to the shape of the templates. The sections were lined up and bonded with spray adhesive to create the molds. Before ad after sanding them smooth Laying out the composites Resin and composites suring in the vacuum bag. The two halves, made with fiberglass, kevlar and two different core materials. The vehicle next to half of the fairing. The frame was attached to the fairing with carbon fiber, similar to how the bamboo frame was constructed.  Peelply was used on the inner surface on the fairing during construction to promote secondary bonding to the surface. Spackle to smooth the surface. Painted and ready to go.

##Completed vehicle

The team. Test Ride. Front View. During the ASME competition. Fly by.

Blog Logo

Rich Nelson



Rich Nelson

A log of professional and personal projects

Back to Overview