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Honda Research & Development donates customized Acura TLX frame for research, teaching

Thanks to the generosity of Honda Research & Development Americas, Inc. (HRA), the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has received a customized 2014 Acura TLX frame to be used in teaching and research.

The color-coded vehicle frame.The color-coded vehicle frame.The HRA facility in Raymond, OH, a close partner of the department, used a production TLX to create a one-off display in order to expose core body frame components made suitable for design education. Design specifications were created by HRA engineers, who contracted with the university’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence for final preparation of the display.

The department’s Digital Design and Manufacturing Laboratory houses the vehicle frame, which is color-coded to indicate its different materials. Under the direction of Jami Shah, Honda Professor of Engineering Design, it will be used to inform research aimed at improving vehicle structures.

“The TLX frame will be a great educational resource for teaching and research in structural design, topology optimization, materials and joining technology for lightweight structures,” said Shah. “It will allow students to get a detailed and up-close look at automotive frame structures, one of my lab’s research areas.”

Members of the Digital Design and Manufacturing Laboratory, with Professor Jami Shah (center)Members of the Digital Design and Manufacturing Laboratory, with Professor Jami Shah (center) Back: Kaushalya Putta. Front: Payam Haghighi, LS Wang, Chris Kim, Satchit Ramnath.Since being designated as the Honda Professor of Engineering Design three years ago, Shah has spent one day per week at HRA in the Strategic Research Area. There, he’s able to collaborate with engineers, access CAD files and develop research projects of mutual interest.

The relationship has also been instrumental in developing new mechanical engineering courses taught by Shah, which will utilize the vehicle frame donation.

“HRA engineers have been a big part of helping me with the development of new courses in advanced CAD and finite element analysis,” said Shah, who teaches both undergraduate and graduate students. “The TLX will benefit students enrolled in these classes, helping them conceptualize key elements of vehicle structures.”

Division Director of Strategic Research Operations and Chief Engineer at HRA Duane Detwiler (BS AE, MS AE) described the significance of the donation. “Honda values practical hands on education, and our collaboration with Professor Shah continues to be extremely successful in producing students that are sought-after as recruits by many Honda Engineering Divisions.”

Read more about the initiatives of the Digital Design and Manufacturing Laboratory here: