If you want to have a good look at our design, you can access an interactive 3D model of our car here.
At the start of the project, Nicholas, our Design Engineer, did a thorough review of all the competition regulations and requirements. He analysed the requirements and translated them into a design document that would become the foundation guidelines for the design itself. He created this document in the form of a design specification, ensuring that it incorporated the minimum and maximum regulation dimensions. This was invaluable to us when creating the actual car design, as it gave us a quick reference guide to all the key regulations. This helped ensure that those regulations were complied with throughout the process.
The drawing regarding the min./max. measurements for the regulations.
After lots of idea generation, we decided that our design will be based on three key ideas:
- Reduce the low-pressure area at the back of the car.
- Reduce the number of surfaces the air ‘hits’.
- Disturb the air as little as possible.
We have revised our design many times, through CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), idea generation, or just simply regulation checks. Our car has been through dozens of design iterations, each testing and revising different aspects of the design.
Main Design Features
On the underside of our car, we have a large channel that stretches the whole length of the car, with inlets on the side. This is to deliver air to the back of the car to fill the low-pressure void that trails behind the car, to reduce drag. Our aim was to make the channel carry as much air to the rear of the car while still adhering to regulations.
This required us to manufacture the car from the top and underneath, instead of left/right manufacturing. This meant, however, that we would have to manufacture the rear wings separately from the body, but still out of balsa wood from the same block.
Extended Front Wing Support Structure
Our front wing support plates are designed so that they trigger the laser at the end of the track as soon as the very front of the car passes over the finishing line, instead of the body of the car triggering the laser when already half of the car is over the finishing line. This will reduce our race time.
Curved Side Pod Surfaces
For enhanced design purposes, we made a team decision to break regulation T4.3. This approach eliminates the surface at the front of the side pod that the air would ‘hit’, and reduces the volume of the car, so we can more easily reach the 50-gram mass requirement. Non-compliance to this regulation will incur a 1 point penalty. However, we have proved mathematically, through CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis and Newton’s second law of motion, that breaking this regulation will make our car precisely 0.022724 seconds faster, than if we had the same car adhering to this regulation, and that 0.22724 seconds could gain us more than 1 point.