Novel Devices that utilize Strain-Energy in Automobiles


The team is currently working with General Motors Research (located in Warren, Michigan) to develop two new devices that reduce the negative environmental impact of automobiles. The first of these two devices is a mechanical regenerative brake and launch-assist. During braking, the device stretches a spring to store the kinetic energy of the vehicle. The launch-assist comes when the stretched spring releases its energy to accelerate the vehicle. The design challenge of the regenerative brake and launch-assist is that the device needs to be able to hold the energy in the stretched spring without affecting the power passing through the drive train. The second of the two devices is a spring-based mechanical starter that would significantly reduce the size of the motor and battery currently needed to start an IC engine.