Autonomous transient analysis, and testing of a FSAE engine on an AC dynamometer.

The tuning and performance of the engine plays a great part in the dynamic scoring criteria of the Formula SAE event. Due to time constraints, testing of the car and engine on the race track can sometimes be limited. Therefore, the ability to accurately simulate dynamic events on the dynamometer allows for tuning and identification of problematic areas sooner and in a much more controlled environment than the race track. With the ability to complete a large amount of reliable transient analysis off track, more time can be spent testing and tuning the dynamic characteristics and handling of the vehicle on track.

We used the University’s new AC dynamometer. This has the capability to both absorb and also provide torque to the engine. This allowed for the ability to simulate effects such as the inertia of the vehicle, and different road conditions. By analysing a combination of past testing data and theoretical calculations, the load and throttle position of the engine was controlled by the dynamometer through software that was developed. We created a predefined simulation loading (based on an endurance lap at FSAE-A 2014) to be executed on the engine.

Upon completing of the project, an autonomous transient control system was successfully developed and utilised as a tool for testing, tuning, and respectively comparing fuel consumption for a range of dynamic based fuelling corrections. This resulted in a fuel savings of 3.42 mL/lap. This accumulated to a fuel savings of 70 mL over the length of one endurance event (22 km).

Rick Panara and Michael Rasmussen. 

Out of Autoclave processing of Pre-impregnated composites for Formula SAE

Out-of-Autoclave pre-impregnated composite materials are growing in popularity for the manufacture of composite components by removing the reliance on expensive autoclave processing. Implementation of out-of-autoclave processing for Formula SAE purposes would yield savings in cost, energy and time.

We aimed to allow the team to process low temperature pre-impregnated materials to their requirements. Validation was achieved via mechanical test methods by comparing the mechanical properties of components processed by out-of-autoclave methods to those processed by a traditional autoclave.

It was found that the oven performed on-par with a commercial out-of-autoclave Elecfurn oven but, out-of-autoclave processing as a whole, yielded performance ~15% lower than an autoclave. This performance difference is believed to be caused by better laminate consolidation and void-content removal ability due to higher external pressure applied by the autoclave.

However, through successful implementation into the Formula SAE Team’s manufacturing process, the oven proved to be a cost-effective solution by producing components with the required properties and having the performance difference justified by cost, energy and time savings.

This year we used the in house oven to cook our nosecone, plenum and some clevises.

Kanvin Chen and Kelly Mulvay