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MUR Motorsports Leverages ANSYS Simulation to Win

As the winners of the Formula SAE competition Australia last year, MUR Motorsports is looking to repeat our success by designing a more aggressive aerodynamics package and optimizing the weight of the vehicle. These targets were deemed by our in-house lap simulator to be two of the driving factors for winning the F-SAE Australasian competition in December. To effectively manage our workload and streamline the design process, we used ANSYS simulation software in almost all of our subteam’s design processes.

MUR Motorsports is the student team from University of Melbourne that participates in formula SAE competitions every year. The team is composed of mechanical and electrical engineering students who build a combustion and an electric race vehicle over a 12-month design cycle. Approximately 25 final year engineering students work on each car, as well as over 25 junior students, who learn important practical skills from the seniors as a means of preparing themselves to lead the team in future years.


The design of a balanced, high-downforce aerodynamics package is incredibly time-intensive, even with the use of CFD simulation software. Designing such a package by hand would have been bordering on impossible. As such, the 2016 Aerodynamics subteam used ANSYS Fluent to simulate the vehicle under a series of different operating conditions to effectively design a well-balanced package. Fluent’s ease of use enabled the team to simulate for straight flow, yawed flow and car heave conditions, allowing for a vehicle that has predictable downforce to inspire driver confidence. Using Fluent enabled the team to iteratively design through different packages to find a solution as close to optimal within our computational and time constraints.

aerodynamics car ansys simulation

Estimated pressure variations over the car ansys simulation

One design challenge occurred when we changed our engine platform, which meant that we had to redesign all existing infrastructure. This includes dynamometer facilities, which required a new engine mount. Given that the new platform poses a significant risk of damage to equipment due to vibration, we used ANSYS mechanical to identify the frequencies of vibration where the risks would be highest, and the areas of the structure that would be most at risk. This helped guide the physical design of the structure to ensure that it would sustain the harshest operating conditions.

Design of platform component

Historically, MUR Motorsports has predominantly designed steel space frame chassis which can use most available commercial FEA programs for design and analysis. With the significant increase of carbon fiber used on the vehicle, we needed to employ more sophisticated software packages. . This is especially pertinent to the design of the carbon fibre monocoque which will be used as the basis for the vehicle this year. We used ANSYS Composite PrepPost (ACP) and static structural as they allowed the chassis subteam to model the monocoque as a single shell and simulate the layers of carbon fiber rather than forcing the creation of multiple shell layers in the model.

The design process for the monocoque required that the stresses from the loading condition on the chassis to be calculated and examine the effects of the load on each of the carbon fiber layers. By using ACP, each layer’s local stress could be assessed. Additionally, the specialized composite failure criteria unique to ACP is in the streamlining of the composite layup design in accordance with the goals of mass reduction and.

Composite analysis of monocoque

As December is upon us, we are working hard to complete the final touches on the car so we can finally unveil it to you. To learn more about our team, visit our website, find us on Facebook and Twitter, or check out our photo stream!