Formula SAE

A student competition that changed my life

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Background

The Formula SAE ® Series competitions challenge teams of university undergraduate and graduate students to conceive, design, fabricate, develop and compete with small, formula-style, vehicles. To give the teams maximum design flexibility and freedom to express their creativity and imaginations, there are very few restrictions on the overall vehicle design.

The challenge to these teams is to develop a vehicle that can successfully compete in all the events described in the Formula SAE (FSAE) Rules. In May of 2014, our team participated in the global Formula SAE competition held in Brooklyn, Michigan.

Design

Our team composed of 25 students, ranging from seniors and underclassmen, from the colleges of engineering to business. I personally led the aerodynamics and body sub-team of 6 students as well as the business development efforts to obtain sponsors. The team utilized Solidworks to design the CAD model and various tools like Optimum K, Ansys, Ansys Fluent to perform CAE analysis.

Key features of the product included:

  1. Honda CBR 600RR engine with 96HP and top speed of 115mph
  2. Space frame w/stressed engine design with weight of 220kg
  3. Acceleration 0-60 mph in 5.8sec and a max lateral acceleration of 1.8G
CAD model of fsae car

Manufacturing

This project was manufactured in three months from design freeze, with the team practically moving into the machine shop to work day and night. Parts were manufactured using aluminum, carbon fiber, stainless steel and fiber glass.

manufacturing image

Testing

We tested the car for 60 hours and broke it a couple times before finalizing the car that we took to Michigan. Our testing involved simulated events similar to what we would encounter at the competition:

  1. Egress: Driver should be able to relieve all safety equipment and be out of the car in 5 seconds
  2. Acceleration: Straight line testing for a distance of 75m
  3. Skid Pad: Cornering capability for a figure eight setup
  4. Autocross: Track setup on tarmac using traffic cones on both sides