Design Excellence Award

Formula Student Powertrain

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Design Excellence Award, Group Design Project
The design and optimisation of a Formula Student Powertrain
Group Members
Davide Armando, Robert Dymock, Richard Earl, James Le Houx, Lewis Morgan, Dom Williams

Professor Andrew Cruden, Dr John Walker

SUFST, RS Components, Schaeffler

The principal aim of the project was to design, manufacture, assemble and test a powertrain package suitable for use in the Formula Student competition. Due to the team’s experience in this field, a number of novel methods were explored, namely the design of a variable geometry intake system; something never before performed at the University of Southampton and something not seen at a Formula Student event.

An intake design has been produced and tested using Ricardo WAVE, which can be passed on to future groups for further development and testing. The data showed that the performance of the intake was increased by using a variable geometry system. Furthermore, there have been a number of manufacturing techniques developed, such as 3D printing composite moulds, and the development of ultra-thin metal 3D printing, which cannot be produced thinner by external companies.

It has also been shown that both a diffuser type muffler and straight-through type muffler can produce excellent results, and that there is a lot of room in which to develop further projects based on the optimisation and manufacture of such a device.
The design has been developed to be used in conjunction with a Honda CBR600RR engine, complying with the FSAE regulations. A working prototype was manufactured to prove that the design could be applied to the final product, providing invaluable research to the team.

Two muffler configurations were also tested with a focus on providing a guide to future projects, with the aim of finding an optimal muffler design. A model was developed in COMSOL to test both configurations, and it was found that both designs performed excellently. The straight through muffler provided more stable results, and a higher overall performance if the peak performance parameters from each study are combined.

A future project looking at a variable geometry intake system, should focus on the manufacture of the current design, and validation and optimisation thereafter. A number of the manufacturing techniques developed, such as the plenum mould design and intake runner manufacture, warrant future research and refininement.

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