The CO2 Dragster competition is performed at a national level as part of the Technology Student Association (TSA), and it seeks to increase and implement STEM skills for high school students. Students are expected to create CO2-powered Dragsters, which are placed on a 20-meter track to compete against each other. The CO2 Dragster consists of a pressure vessel containing CO2, which is placed in a pre-drilled cartridge located at the back of the vehicle. The CO2 propellant is used to provide thrust to the Dragster during the race, and sand smoothed balsawood material is used for the solid body of the Dragster. The CO2 Dragster competition is introduced at the high school level to provide students with a hands-on activity that allows them to learn and apply the fundamentals of fluid dynamics and solid mechanics. The students are placed in charge of designing a 3D model of their Dragster and are required to submit the 3D model with their respective drawings. In this paper, a mathematical, computational, and experimental analysis of a CO2 Dragster is provided. This research consisted of creating a shell model on NX 10, then inserted into ANSYS Fluent to simulate the flow around the model to identify and track the stagnation points, pressure loadings, and flow separation effects caused by the fluid interaction with the Dragster. Mathematical formulas were implemented to find the fracture of slim body CO2 Dragsters, using a coupling between fluid mechanics and solid mechanics, Fluid-Structure Interactions (FSIs). In conclusion, by creating a computational model, it is possible to drive dragster design by simulating different dragster designs’ computationally to improve its performance. Creating a computational functional model to simulate the Dragster, implementing mathematical formulas to understand the behavior, and experimentally evaluating the parameters based on performance will lead to more innovative practices of creating better Dragsters for this competition.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.