Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Agricultural and Biological Engineering

First Advisor

John Lumkes

Second Advisor

Dennis Buckmaster

Third Advisor

John Starkey

Committee Chair

John Lumkes

Committee Co-Chair

Dennis Buckmaster

Committee Member 1

John Starkey


The Purdue Utility Platform (PUP) is an off-road utility vehicle that was created to improve agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa by providing appropriate transportation and mobile power solutions. The vehicle design has matured to a level where it now requires more robust engineering tools to perform a rigorous assessment of its function. The assessment will be pursued in two areas: durability of the frame and the roll stability of the vehicle. To assess the durability of the frame, a data acquisition system was installed to collect strain gauge information during the vehicle’s operation. This data was then related to an ANSYS model of the PUP. The investigation of the roll stability of the vehicle was accomplished by building and utilizing a MATLAB simulation showing the vehicle’s dynamics during a turn at relatively high speeds. The results from the frame study showed that the areas under investigation were well under yield stress, but some areas need to be studied further for fatigue failures. Respective loads related to 4 g and 1.6 g accelerations were experienced while operating the vehicle over 4.625” bumps. The roll stability study found that the PUP is primarily safe in rollover, but care must be taken while loading the vehicle. The PUP is least stable when a driver and passenger are sitting in the front seats without a load in the bed. In this case, it is possible that the PUP could roll traveling towards top speed while entering a tight turn on surfaces where the peak friction coefficient is above 0.8. The design tools developed in this assessment can be used in future vehicle designs.