Changing up the Chassis
The chassis is an integral part of the car that marries all the components together as well as providing safety to the driver. This creates the challenge of optimising it to accommodate all critical components without compromising their performance. Traditionally, SHU Racing uses a steel space frame to construct the chassis. This is mainly due to the cost effectiveness and the facilities available to the team at the university. However, the team has been given the opportunity to further develop its skills with composite materials thanks to the generosity of DJ Race Cars allowing us the opportunity to use their autoclave facilities. This will allow us to start developing more complex carbon fibre concepts.
One such development is a carbon composite chassis. This initially started as a third-year project during the 2020 season where through hand calculations and simulation an initial layup was created for the materials that were available to us which showed promising results.
At the 2021 season, it was decided that the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) team would start the design and integration work required to run a half-monocoque at the competition. This has created excitement within the team it is a sign of the progress the team had made since 2017, when a lot of the current managers first joined the team.
Obviously developing a composite chassis did not come without its obstacles, particularly given the current pandemic. The first hurdle to jump was to ensure homologation, creating a design that meet the high standards and regulations of Formula Student UK and the IMechE. As it would be our first attempt at such a design, we chose to make sure every requirement was met but limited optimisation as this could be where mistakes are made. By December 2020 we had a final design we believed to be legal and in keeping with SHU Racing style and quality.
Unfortunately, the change in government restrictions in December meaning the team would not be onsite until at least mid-March has slightly curtailed the development of the carbon composite chassis for this seasons ICE competitor. One of the competition requirements is that physical testing is carried out on the material and layup method selected. As this data is critical and must be submitted on time, the closure has prevented the monocoque from being raced at the event this year.
Despite the many changes in plans this year, the team remains very positive. The carbon composite chassis is instead now being developed alongside the electric car development team and hopes to validate the design when we have access to the university again. Validating the design this year is crucial as it will provide the 2022 team with a validated design ready to move forward with next season.
Meet the Team
Meet the Team is an opportunity for us to give you a chance to learn a little more about the people who make up SHU Racing. This week, we welcome our society secretary, Fin Ellershaw who is also a member of the powertrain department for this year
Name: Fin Ellershaw
Course: MEng Automotive Engineering
Role: Society Secretary and Powertrain team member
Number of years with the Team: 2
Hobbies and Interests: Sim Racing, 3D printing, rugby
Favourite Car: McLaren F1 GTR
Dream Job: Designer somewhere in F1
Reasons for Joining SHU Racing: Formula student really appealed to the side of me that's obsessed with motorsport. Having the chance to be directly involved in racing was something I couldn't pass up on. Getting to be a part in designing and building the car sounded like an exciting thing to be involved with.