The car has been designed to optimise weight and efficiency. We also aim for a simple design to reduce the number of possible failure modes of the car and give us the best chance of performing well at competition. We also have a responsibility to use sustainable materials and manufacturing methods without compromising the performance of the car.
We have made extensive use of SolidWorks 16, kindly gifted to us for project use. We also use ANSYS for our more advanced finite element analysis. The electrical and control teams use Proteus for their electrical circuit design, SimuLink for the control systems and Finite Element Magnetic Methods for the motor design.
The aerodynamics of the car have been designed for a masters project, optimising the shape to ensure that our car is most efficient at the speeds that we will be travelling. The chassis of the car will be made from carbon fibre as a structural monocoque which we will be manufacturing at the Advanced Materials Research Centre.
Challenges involve making sure that the driver has enough space and that the chassis is versatile enough to mount components for the next two years of use. We also need to make sure that it holds up to the stress requirements in the competition rules.
Electrical Propulsion and Control Systems
To power the car we have opted to use a battery and electric motor. The battery will be selected to have a high energy density and the motor chosen for its efficiency and power requirements. We will also be concurrently developing an electric motor at the University of Sheffield which we can optimise for our specific needs.
The most innovative aspect of our project will be a control system which determines the most efficient speed at any point on the track and relays the information to the driver via a "speed up/slow down" display. We hope that perhaps next year we can use this as a springboard towards a full AV as this category is a new one on the horizon. We must strike a balance between drawing power to solve lots of equations in real time and saving energy by optimising our speed. We hope that by using innovative algorithms we can stick to the most efficient speed without drawing more power than we save.
This team are designing everything which connects the motor to the wheels. They have decided upon a 10:1 planetary gear to step the motor down from 3000rpm to 300rpm, the average speed we must go around the track. This will then be connected to the wheel with a chain and sprocket mechanism to ensure that we vary the position of components, as it is our first time building and we want to be able to play with positioning. We hope to design and manufacture sprockets in house and to think about more innovative ways of creating the system next year.
Steering and Wheels
We will be buying wheels specially designed for the competition from Michelin, one of the competition sponsors. It has been recommended to us that we buy different wheels for different weather conditions, especially as the competition is now held in the UK. This team have the ultimate challenge of creating a system by which the driver can still steer effectively in the most cramped conditions.
Ergonomics and Safety
There are many rules to adhere to to even get to the track in this competition and this team must ensure we fulfill all the criteria for racing. They must also ensure that the driver can sit, see and steer whilst in the car.