Formula Student is Europe’s largest student engineering competition that aims to develop and encourage young students to consider a career in engineering. Competing teams from all around the world must design, create, test, and ultimately race small-scale formula-style race cars. Each team’s final product and its subsequent performance is then judged on a number of criteria including the final cost, reliability, execution, and maintainability of their prototype.
Along with this, the performance of the race car’s acceleration, braking, and handling qualities are also put to the test, therefore it is critical that teams simulate their design before building their prototype. Eric Lim, responsible for the aerodynamic simulation and analysis for his team UBRacing from the UK, explains how their team competed in the 2017/2018 challenge.
The team raced in both the Formula Student UK (FSUK) and Formula Student Germany (FSG) competitions, coming in 6th overall at FSUK and 30th at FSG. As they prepare for the 2018/2019 competition, the team turns to SimScale for their simulation needs.
The Challenge for Formula Student Team UBRacing
As the team begins work on the design for this year’s formula student race car, their current challenge is including a front wing, rear wing, and diffuser into their original design. Using SimScale as their CFD simulation software, they have been using the aerodynamics package to test the coefficients of lift and drag.
Eric explains that by, “using the CAE software, we help to verify our design, both visually and numerically.”
How Are they Using SimScale?
Initially, the team followed the Formula Student tutorials offered by SimScale. STL CAD files were used to create a hexahedron mesh, and y+ was then specifically calculated in order to obtain the phenomenon and data for the boundary layers.
“The tutorial on the SimScale website is really helpful. SimScale does not only offer opportunities for us to deal with CFD, but also offers a useful platform, through which we can discuss with others and learn. The Library of terminologies is also very useful,” mentioned the team.
So far, nearly 7,000 core hours have been used across several accounts, where the average simulation runtime was about 9 hours.
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The main goal was to optimize the UBR21 car used from the previous year, specifically the front wing, rear wing and side channel for the cooling system. After iterations design and adjustments, the downforce from the front wing increased around 14.3%, the rear wing increased around 3.4%, and the pressure drop (which indicates the radiator cooling system) increased about 53.2%. The coefficient of lift (downforce) decreased from -2.11 to -2.34 and the coefficient of drag decreased from 1.34 to 1.16. The team agrees that after the completed simulation and validation, SimScale gave a convincing result.
What’s Next for UBRacing?
By using SimScale’s cloud-based tool instead of multiple computers needed for running multiple CFD simulations, UBRacing was able to save significant time and money in the competition, and focus more heavily on other qualifying factors to leverage their position and overall competitive advantage.