Engineering

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EL GRECO

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Engineering is defined as the application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, machines, processes, and systems. Engineering is an integral part of S.T.E.M. If S.T.E.M. was a body, engineering would be its heart. Engineering is what connects the disciplines. Engineers seek solutions to problems then apply scientific knowledge and mathematics to design, build, and maintain technologies to solve the problems.

In the world of F1, multiple fields of engineering like performance, control, aerodynamic and tyre engineering are combined and applied on the car to create the ultimate driving machine. An engineer must be knowledgeable about all areas of the car and communicate with several stakeholders within the team, including power unit engineers, designers, and aerodynamicists, with the goal of influencing future car design and enhancing the development of suspension, brakes, power unit, cooling, and aerodynamics, to name only a few. 

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The F1 in Schools Car is designed using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software such as Autodesk Fusion 360 or Autodesk Inventor. During this step, we must ensure that it is compliant with all Technical Regulations, just like in Formula 1, and any manufacturing limitations. This stage is crucial for ensuring that the model will score all points in the specifications judging and it can be manufactured easily with success. Often, compromises between aerodynamics and regulation compliance have to be made.

Design

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The material of the main body is a polyurethane F1 in Schools Model Block, which is cut on a CNC machine. A CAM (Computer Aided Manufacture) software is used to plot the team’s machining strategy. The wheel system and wings along with their support structures can be made from other materials. For example, for the wheels, Acetal or other similar materials are usually used, while the wings are 3D printed. Once all parts have been constructed, the model has to be finished, and painted prior to the final assembly.

Make

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One of the first steps to produce a competitive car is to develop an aerodynamically efficient model. To achieve this, a variety of CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) tests are conducted on several design concepts. The results are analyzed and integrated into the design process, developing the car even further each time. Moreover, during the final stage of an F1 in Schools race, the car has to be stopped and this is done by using fragile and easily deformed materials, such as cotton or wool. To ensure that no breakages occur in the stoppage, FEA tests are conducted to verify the rigidity of the model.

Analysis

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Once the above have been completed, physical tests on a track are conducted to verify the car’s performance. If it is found that the performance must be improved and the project management constraints allow it, then we start the process again.Finally, during the competition, the car races on a 20 meter straight in a time of about a second using the power of a compressed CO2 cartridge. The race is the most stressful and exciting part of the competition because all of the effort put into creating the car flies right in front of you in a matter of seconds.

Test & Racing