A novel, elastically-based, regenerative brake and launch assist mechanism

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Advisor: David H. Myszka

Second Advisor

Advisor: Andrew P. Murray


This thesis project presents the development of a regenerative brake and launch assist (RBLA) mechanism that stores energy in an elastic medium. Automotive regenerative braking systems harness kinetic energy while a vehicle decelerates, and subsequently uses that stored energy to assist propulsion. Commercially available hybrid vehicles use generators, batteries, and motors to electrically implement regenerative braking and increase overall vehicle efficiency. With the intent of applying regenerative braking technology to conventional automobiles equipped having only an internal combustion engine, a spring-based mechanical device is proposed. This RBLA concept implements clutches, gears, a ratchet and a spring. The mechanism captures energy from, and releases energy to, an additional shaft allowing the axle to rotate in one direction. Governing equations were formulated and validated by a dynamic simulation. In creating the detailed design, an optimization determined ideal spring and mechanism dimensions. A physical prototype was designed and fabricated to demonstrate the concept. A model of the proposed spring-based RBLA has been found to appreciably increase the urban fuel efficiency for an average sedan.


Automobiles Brakes Design and construction, Energy transfer, Automobiles Energy conservation, Springs (Mechanism), Regenerative brakes Design and construction, Mechanical Engineering, regenerative braking, novel devices, energy storage, springs

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2014, author