Scholarships awarded to students for communicating lightweighting and styling benefits of steel
SOUTHFIELD, MI--March 12, 2014: The Steel Market Development Institute's (SMDI) Wheels Task Force, in partnership with Michelin, announced the winners of its fifth annual Steel Wheel Design Competition at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) at the program's awards presentation last week. The event, which awarded scholarships to students for their designs that communicate the lightweighting and styling benefits of steel wheels, took place at the LTU campus in Southfield. SMDI is a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).
"The students did an outstanding job this year designing wheels that highlight steel's lightweighting and durability benefits, while also creating their styling features to enhance wheel appearance," said Ron Krupitzer, vice president, automotive market for SMDI. "The competition not only proves to be a great way to show steel benefits to consumers, it also helps wheel makers and automotive manufacturers meet new fuel economy standards with lighter-weight wheels."
The competition is an option within the LTU curriculum and is based on engineering results from SMDI's Lightweight Steel Wheel Project. Students were tasked with designing an advanced alloy steel wheel that communicates the lightweighting and styling benefits of steel in the competitive wheel market. The renderings and steel wheel features were judged by a panel of steel experts, automotive designers, engineers and wheel manufacturers on the following criteria: material celebration; changing customer perception by communicating environmental issues and performance; creativity through a unique and innovative design that maintains functionality; and an executed design concept that complements the vehicle's aesthetics.
The winning wheel designs included:
Elizaveta Bondarenko – Designed for the GMC Terrain, Bondarenko's lightweight 17" steel wheel features inspiration from the vehicle's exterior design and its grill to come up with the idea to insert the mesh pattern into the wheel. This creates a unique and innovative look, as well as better aerodynamics;
Elizabeth Steenwyk – Designed to integrate classic Volkswagen lines and a sporty feel into a lightweight steel wheel for the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Turbo, Steenwyk's concept is a drop-center wheel, which reduces the amount of material used. It also features a groove along the spokes, where a black rubber insert with a yellow pin stripe sits. The pinstripe echoes the iconic rush exterior of the GSR to create a sportier, powerful design that better fits the Beetle; and
Peter Corey – Designed for a Fiat 500, Corey's 17" steel wheel features several layers, including folded-over steel for a 3-D effect, bent sides and welded sheets. The unique, lightweight design mimics an eagle's wings when it's swooping down from the sky.