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QFR Aerodynamics

05.03.20 · Engineering News

QFR Team Leader Rachel MacNeill and final year Aerospace Engineering student Matthew McClune discuss the aerodynamics of their new, all electric race car for Formula Student 2020.


QFR boss Rachel MacNeill chats with her aerodynamics team lead, Matthew McClune about changes to their design for the upcoming 2020 electric Formula Student car.

Rachel: So we’re here today to talk about the aero design of the new car. This is our 2019 car and Matthew is currently working on a design for 2020. Matthew is going to talk us through his project and what he has been doing.

Matthew: Yeah so as part of the 2018 Formula Student competition we won the communications award which allowed us to take our 2018 car to Mara wind tunnel and get some tests added. So out of that we got lift and drag figures, and I’ve taken the CAD model then from the 2018 car, simplified it down to one that is usable in CFD software. We ran a couple of calculations and I was able to validate both the terminus model and the bench size. This is going to give an accurate indication of the aerodynamics of the car. So what I was able to do then was take out pressure contour plots and streamline plots. Have a look at what the flow is doing around the car and how we could potentially change the geometry of the car. To improve it aerodynamically, both to increase the amount of downforce that we’re producing and to minimise the amount of drag we’re producing as well.

Rachel: And what do you think the future is for this sort of project, like what would another project look at this year?

M: So, part of my project is to look at an aerodynamic roadmap for the car, and not just for the car, for the whole competition. We’re going to look at potentially incorporating front and rear wings. The problem with that though is, we are travelling at relatively low speeds for aerodynamics. We need quite a large surface area, so we need a big rear wing and quite a large front wing as well. So it is just looking at the manufacturing techniques of that, and how you can offset the weight of those components against the potential benefits you get from downforce.

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