Since 1989, CCS has teamed with the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) for a summer internship program that brings together imaginative automotive design and the material of choice in the industry &mdash steel. In 2006, the internship program broke new ground, by introducing a real-world twist, with three University of Michigan (U-M) engineering students joining three CCS transportation design students to develop concepts. This summer students from CCS and U-M teamed up to develop vehicle concepts that met the "Inside Out" theme. This summer the assignment was to conceptualize, render and create a concept vehicle based on a steel exoskeleton design. Envisioning an exposed steel safety exoskeleton the car designers/engineers were encouraged to stretch their imaginations to design concept cars that are entirely unique and incorporate advanced high-strength steel and safety technologies. The concept models, which were recently unveiled, are:
Dodge Dendro &mdash a powerfully venomous sports car &mdash designed by Nicolas Ren Stone, CCS, and engineered by Alok Pradhan, U-M. Inspired by Nature, the goal was to apply evolutionary design principles and the new technologies in steel to explore (and push) the possibilities for the next generation of cars. Utilizing an exoskeleton frame to enclose the occupants in a triangle, the unique shape allowed for the absence of a typical B-pillar, allowing the front grill to serve as an intrinsic part of the structure, rather than as decoration. The bumpers are connected through a long vertical structure that travels the length of the car through the interior. This anchors the structure, while providing stiffness to the rear "tail bone," which also serves as the trunk. The frame design combines the strength of exoskeletons with the flexibility of a creature that appears to have no skeleton, the snake. The body panels actually flex with the vehicle, becoming an active part of the suspension. They appear as skin tightly stretched over the ridged exoskeleton. This vehicle is as much creature as it is machine. JeepÃ?Â® Roanoke &mdash an aggressively styled off-road vehicle mindful of the economy and environment &mdash designed by Tyler Mars, CCS, and engineered by Zoheb Kahn, U-M. The Roanoke is designed and engineered for 20-35 year olds that have a passion for the outdoors and need precise performance in a vehicle that is fun and environmentally friendly. This concept has a very aggressive theme with force and direction in every line. The Roanoke was created not only for performance and drivability, but also for clean air and economy. The mid-engine layout is ideal for handling and weight distribution. The 'Tweel' wheel and suspension design eliminates the risk of a blowout and adds to the overall intimidating character of the vehicle, while increasing interest and performance. The exposed framework around the cabin is comprised of hydroformed high-strength steel to emphasize the theme of exoskeleton. To improve safety and provide peace of mind, advanced high-strength steels are used strategically throughout the chassis in key areas, such as side-impact beams and exposed bumpers. Along with the hydroformed high-strength steel exoskeleton frame, advancements in technology include a clean V6 turbo diesel engine. The engine is environmentally friendly and provides excellent low-end torque and fuel economy, which makes the Roanoke an ideal vehicle for off- and on-road situations. Pontiac Hematon &mdash a sports car inspired by life, for the power elite who never follow &mdash designed by Timothy O'Donnell, CCS and engineered by Jennifer Hoskins, U-M. A motorcycle is considered the ultimate thrill you can have on the street. This is where the Hematon draws inspiration. The Hematon incorporates efficiency, fun and also adds safety. Hematon is designed to appeal to 20-30 year olds looking for a second car for fun or for a primary mode of transportation that is efficient and affordable. The Hematon is intended to be a competitor with high-end sport bikes and sports cars under $30,000. The Hematon is inspired by the exposed frame and integrated body parts seen on sport bikes. By pushing the frame out to the surface of the body, it becomes a visible reassuring reminder to the driver that there is a structurally sound, high-strength steel exoskeleton protecting them at all times. By combining knife-edge intersections with elegant flowing horizontal lines, the Hematon can capture a viewer's attention and guide the eye 360 degrees around the car. The nose is an aggressive design that implies forward motion inspired by the Pontiac Grand American Rolex race cars. The rear is where the Hematon houses it series hybrid drive train and cools its vital engine parts. The rear view is comparable to the look of a motorcycle's air-cooled engine. The chassis of the Hematon incorporates high-strength hydroformed side and rear rails. A rollover bar that connects to a central rail protects the driver from above and allows for the removal of the A-pillars. A steel beam also runs from side-to-side directly behind the occupants' seats. This allows for the energy in a side impact to be transferred away from the occupants and for a solid structure bracing the seats. Lightweight hydroformed and stamped body panels provide package space and help enable the knife-edge styling to flow seamlessly from exposed frame to painted body supports.