By Akhil Shah - UBR News Correspondent
It’s the start of a new year, and we are ever closer to the Formula Student Competition at Silverstone. Whilst many of us have been relaxing and enjoying ourselves (well deserved I must say!), most of the UBR team were hard at work up until the last week before Christmas. The development of the car has come a long way since the start of this academic year, and the team is well prepared for the next stage in the build.
During the autumn semester in 2013, the team took to the track with the car from last year at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire. This enabled the collection of valuable performance data such as running temperatures of the exhaust and cooling system to the fuel consumption and efficiency of the engine, taken after each run (a set of 5 laps per person). The testing also allowed Team Leader Andy Glencross to find out who the fastest drivers are.
Each team member had a chance to have a go in the car around a small circuit. Having had a chance to drive the car myself, I can certainly say that it is quick off the blocks. Exhilarating, and exciting, driving one of these will certainly give anyone an adrenaline rush.
Currently a fully tabbed chassis has been built and once various components have returned from manufacture, the building of the rest of the car can begin. The next milestone the team is working towards is a rolling chassis. A rolling chassis is the chassis of the car, assembled together with the engine and drivetrain, but without bodywork.
I myself have been working with Team Leader Andy Glencross on the cooling system for this year’s car. Having taken apart the one from the previous car, we looked at ways to improve the set up, such as weight savings and the use of electronic fan controllers to manage the fan automatically at certain engine temperatures.
There must be a special mention to Head of Powertrain, Andy Jones, for his commitment to learning how to use and understand the Dyno, based in the engine control labs in the School of Mechanical Engineering. It has been a second home to him, with countless hours spent toiling away alone, it’s a wonder he hasn’t turned mad.
The hard work of Andy and the powertrain team has resulted in the production of the performance map of the engine for the car, while an economy map is currently being worked on. An engine performance map is a listing of engine fuel flow rates versus torque or power obtained at specific engine speeds and loads, while the economy map allows us to find the efficiency of the engine, and the specific factors that are affecting it.
While the core team work on the competition car, a few of the new UBR team members have started work on a side-project, the development and building of a Crazy Kart. This small project will enable the new members of the team to gain experience using CAD software, performing design work, manufacturing and also learning about engines.
Similar to a go-kart, a crazy kart is a smaller more nimble vehicle, which is able to swivel and turn quickly. For those who have no idea what a crazy kart is or how it works, you can watch a short clip on YouTube.
UBR gladly welcomes any support. If there are any students who may know of any firms, technological or not, that they believe may be interested in supporting/possibly providing sponsorship for UoB’s Formula Student team, please contact UBR (Team Leader Andy Glencross and Technician Carl Hingley at email@example.com or call the UBR lab at 012 1414 4218).