University of Windsor, Canada

By Brandon Woltz (Chassis Team Head)

The University of Windsor Formula SAE team made a number of great strides in the design of their chassis and induction systems for the 2007 Formula competition.  With the help of ANSYS software, the Formula team was able introduce composite materials into their design — a first in Windsor’s history. 

Sandwich panels were integrated into the chro-moly space frame, allowing the team to drastically increase the torsional rigidity of chassis while also lowering the frame’s weight. The combination of the panels and elimination of the rear box in the engine compartment allowed for a reduction in weight of 15 percent over the 2006 chassis and an increase in overall torsional rigidity of 200 percent. These improvements were made possible through extensive FEA analysis using ANSYS technology. Load paths, von Mises stress, Tsai–Wu and DOF solutions were analyzed using ANSYS software and benchmarked against the previous team’s chassis to validate the design. ANSYS software was also used in the validation of suspension control arms and hubs.

The 2008 Formula team plans to further optimize  designs through FEA in ANSYS. Without the support of ANSYS, these improvements would not have been realized.

Deflection of front of chassis

Deflelection of rear of chassis

In addition to the use of ANSYS CAE capabilities for structural validation in the chassis, developmental designs of the engine induction system could be justified using ANSYS FLUENT. The CFD-based software provides a 3-D fluid analysis of the induction system. Coupled with 1-D engine software, optimization of the designs can be made accordingly. In particular, ANSYS FLUENT was heavily used in the design and integration of a restrictor plate (sanctioned by FSAE rules). Because this rule creates a limiting factor on the engine output, maximization of fluid characteristics is crucial in providing desired engine performance.

A first iteration of the restrictor illustrates flow separation occurring downstream of the throat. With the help of ANSYS FLUENT, the diverging section of the restrictor can be optimized so that flow separation does not occur. Similarly, flow characteristics such as flow rate, velocity, Mach number and energy losses can all be accounted for in the analysis.

Coupling the capabilities of ANSYS FLUENT CFD into the design validation stages of the induction system offered a beneficial solution in optimizing the overall engine output and performance characteristics.

Recirculation at restrictor: magnitude of velocity path plot

Velocity contours downstream from throat of restrictor

Click for team website.