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for the Shell Innovation Award
A motor-driven centrifugal compressor to improve the performance of the Southampton University Formula Student Team engine
Group Members
Titas Bučelis, Rory Gills, James Haslett, Jonathan Hoey, Jake Kneller, Pau Miquel Mir
Professor Andrew Cruden, Dr John Walker
Forced-induction systems are used to increase the power output of internal combustion engines by increasing the flow of air in and allowing more fuel to burn. This project has designed and integrated an advanced motor-driven centrifugal compressor for a Formula Student powertrain. This technology was pioneered in Formula One but is the first of its kind on a Formula Student car.

Formula Student takes place on circuits with tight corners and short straights. High torque and power at low engine speeds are desired performance targets. An electrically powered system was designed, due to the disadvantages of conventional forcedinduction systems. Superchargers respond well to low-speed power demand but are a parasitic load on the engine power. Turbochargers utilise wasted gases and are therefore efficient, however the rotational speed of the compressor is dependent on the flow of gases from the exhaust and is slow to respond to driver throttle demands. Using a battery to power the electric motor and drive the compressor incurs no additional load on the engine. This results in improved drivability, due to independent control of the compressor speed.

The design process involved setting feasible targets, by simulating engine and compressor combinations under predicted operating conditions, using Ricardo WAVE™ engine modelling software. The system was designed to adhere to these targets and simulated using thermal and structural finite element analysis. Once manufactured, these were validated by experimental and on-car dynamometer testing, to attain actual performance data and to evaluate the success of the project. The system was proven to increase the peak torque and apply this over a wider and lower range of engine speeds.
Prototype testing mounted to Formula Student car.