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Finite Element Analysis: Track 1

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Formula 1 is the ultimate motor sport. It demands the highest level of skill from both drivers and the engineers behind the cars. So what are the secrets of good car design? How are Formula One cars engineered for maximum performance? This album takes a behind the scenes look at Red Bull Racing, a front-runner on the F1 grid. Using thrilling archive and expert testimony, the tracks explore how the techniques of Finite Element Analysis are used to optimize the performance of different elements of a Formula One racing car. The album is presented by Lara Mynors and features extensive contributions from Lewis Butler, Red Bull's senior structural analyst and Dr Ray Martin of the OU. The material is forms part of The Open University course T884 An introduction to Finite Element Analysis.

By: The OpenLearn team (The Open University,)

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Track 1: Finite element analysis in Formula 1

A short introduction to this album.


© The Open University 2009


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Finite element analysis in Formula 1    A short introduction to this album. Play now Finite element analysis in Formula 1
2 This is Formula 1!    How final element analysis is used to get maximum performance out of Formula 1 cars, focussing on two components: the wheel hub and the 'tub'. Play now This is Formula 1!
3 Component function    The first step in final element analysis is to understand precisely what a component does and how it interacts with other elements. Lewis Butler from Red Bull Racing reveals the role of the hub in F1 car design. Play now Component function
4 Analysing stresses and strains    The second step is to analyse the stresses and strains that the component will be subject to. Lewis Butler from Red Bull and Ray Martin from the OU explain how the hub has to be able to cope with massive external loads. Play now Analysing stresses and strains
5 Boundary conditions    The third step is to consider the wheel hub's boundary conditions and how these interact with the external stresses on the wheel hub. Play now Boundary conditions
6 Creating a solid model    Step 4 is to create a solid CAD model of the hub. This is a complex process which involves a series of assumptions and simplifications which need to be taken into account to get a true picture of the hub's behaviour. Play now Creating a solid model
7 Creating a mesh model    Step 5 is to create a mesh model of the hub, with 72 000 elements. The mesh density is at its greatest in areas of particular interest. Play now Creating a mesh model
8 Solving a mesh model    Step 6 is to input the various stresses and loads that the hub will have to cope with, and use a computer programme to solve the model. Today this can be done quickly and reliably though it still needs a lot of interpretation by the engineers and designers. Play now Solving a mesh model
9 The benefits of FEA    The final step is to put the lessons learned through FEA and use them to manufacture new improved components which increase your chance of success. Play now The benefits of FEA
10 Improving the chassis    The same FEA process that was used to redesign a car's hub can also be used to improve its 'tub', otherwise known as its chassis. Play now Improving the chassis
11 Functions of the 'tub'    The tub, or chassis, is the largest component of a car. It cocoons the driver and all the major components, from the engine to the car's suspension, are mounted in the tub. Play now Functions of the 'tub'
12 Stiffer means faster    The stiffer the tub, the more responsive and better performing the car. A torsion test can be used to ------ and then improve the tub's characteristics. Play now Stiffer means faster
13 Boundary conditions for the tub    The engine and the other components attached to the tub set relatively straightforward boundary conditions. Play now Boundary conditions for the tub
14 Modelling the tub    Lewis Butler from Red Bull Racing explains how the design and the construction of the tub makes for a very complicated computer model. Play now Modelling the tub
15 Solving the mesh model    Lewis Butler explains why and how he builds a model of half of the tub. Because of its complexity, much time and computing power is needed to solve the model. Play now Solving the mesh model
16 Analysing the results    Lewis Butler analyses the data generated by solving the model. Having to have a hole for the driver to sit in has a big impact on the how stiff the tub can be. Play now Analysing the results
17 Testing CAD against reality    In order to be confident about the results of computer simulations, Red Bull compares them with practical investigations. They are disappointed if the results are more than 5% apart from computer predictions. Play now Testing CAD against reality
18 Take a sceptical view    The results of CAD should be treated sceptically and require a lot of interpretation and real world comparison. Ultimately the engineer's experience and judgement are more important than information generated via computer models. Play now Take a sceptical view

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