Mechanical Team Michaelmas Week 2

The aero shape for the main body of the car has been frozen, just 8 weeks after CFD work on our chosen concept for the 2013 race was decided on.  A huge thank you to the aero team for making this possible. Passing this mile stone has allowed the mechanical team to begin detailed design of the monocoque chassis. The preliminary design work was carried out over the summer holidays at the National Composites Centre and this work should allow for rapid progress to be made in specifying the final layup.

I reported last week that layup had begun on some carbon sandwich panels that are to be used as mould supports. I am very pleased to report that the panel layup carried out last week was a success. The quality of the panels exceeds the requirements for their use as supports for the main monocoque mould.

These panels will be cut to their final shape in the next few weeks. Work continues this weekend to construct more panels for the mould support, and more excitingly the first internal bulkheads of the actual car will also be manufactured this weekend.

Final preparations are being made before ordering modelling board from OBO Werke. This modelling board will be glued together by students at the Cambridge University Engineering Department over the next few weeks, before being taken to Jaguar Land Rover to be machined into the shape of our new car. We are looking forward to gluing the blocking pattern that JLR sent us last week together as it will give new team members a project where they can get their hands dirty.

Two of the team went to visit Ricardo in Cambridge last week. The company have kindly offered us use of a garage on their site to manufacture the mould for the chassis and drive door. The space is ideal! This adds to the support that Ricardo has already offered the team in sponsoring an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Placement that produced a simulation to model any car during the WSC.

Hi-Bond Tapes Ltd are now supporting our build program, and have very kindly agreed to supply us with adhesive tapes capable of withstanding the harsh environment of the Australian desert. This new relationship between CUER and Hi-bond will allow us to maintain our weight saving culture, by reducing the need for mechanical fasteners and allow us to hit our ambitious weight targets.

Concept design and a feasibility study have been completed on the car’s revolutionary suspension design (more on this at a later date). It seems we have identified some significant weight saving in this area and more detailed analysis is now under way in order to understand exactly how it will perform.

Some major decisions on the drive train of the car have also been made this week, based on an in depth analysis of the relative losses of different concepts. Not to be out done by the suspension team, they have also found weight savings in the design while also removing energy losses from the system.

We have also received a free sample tyre from a major tyre manufacture, with a view to testing it against the tyres used on our old car Endeavour. We are expecting to see a reduction in rolling resistance of the order of 60%!  We plan to utilise a rig built last year to test rolling resistance. This is an example of where efforts we made developing last year’s concept are allowing us to progress at a much faster rate this year despite the rule changes.

Some of our new recruits to the mechanical team last year had their first lessons in Solidworks, and are now already producing useful output for the team. Having a small army of draftsmen will make the job of reaching our design targets for the vehicle launch possible.

I leave you with a photo of today’s mechanical team meeting, just after we split off into our sub teams. Good to see the team hard at work!


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