She has a Need for Speed
During the day Natalie Lahti-Schampers is a test and development engineer at a fire truck manufacturer. On weekends, she is a buggy racer.
Recently Natalie and her husband Jason attended a Micro-Measurements workshop to learn more about strain gages and instrumentation. There is no doubt that her employer will benefit from her newly acquired skills. However, she would also like to apply this knowledge to increase the performance of their buggy and satisfy her need for speed.
On off-road tracks, it is not unusual for drivers to have some “air time.” When the vehicle hits the ground (after being in the air), subsequent traction performance is related to the stiffness and damping of the suspension system.
Natalie and Jason plan to apply strain gages to the suspension system and drive train of the vehicle so that they can objectively measure its stiffness and the power transmitted to the wheels. This strain gage data will give them more insight into the parameters that affect the dynamics and traction of the buggy.
At a time when our policy makers are actively looking at ways of getting more women involved in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, it is good to see that Natalie has competed to earn an engineering degree. Now she is using those technical skills to optimize pink buggy #333 for racing against whatever competition comes her way on weekends. Watch out boys!