Introduction to finite element analysis
Introduction to finite element analysis

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Introduction to finite element analysis

Step 1 – The component

As with the hub, we’ll be looking at a specific load case for the tub - one which enables the team to compare new designs or modifications from one model to the next.

Before we can consider building a model of the tub we need to understand what it is – what does it do and how does it interact with other components on the car?

We’ll begin with Lewis describing the component.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 5
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Transcript: Video 5

Lewis Butler
This is the chassis, which is of carbon fibre composite construction. And this does many jobs. If we go through them in turn, one is to receive all of the suspension loads from the wheels and carry them into the tub, or chassis, and then out into the rest of the car. So the suspension members here you see mounted, they carry all the forces from the wheel into this part. The second of which is to receive loads from impact structures on the front and side of the car. And the third is for a rollover incident where there’s two main areas of the car to try and resist those loads.
There are many regulations we need to try and satisfy, basically, which come in via both impact tests on the front and the side of the car, which is the nose box, which isn’t shown here – but the forces, obviously, are reacted by this component – and the side of the car also adjacent to the driver to give him some protection in a side impact. And the seat belt mountings are obviously in here. And also there are roll hoops, which, again, for the regulations we need to satisfy two load tests, one of which is at the front of the cockpit here.
You can only see this fin here. But there’s actually considerable reinforcement under here to take the forces. Another one up here, which protects his head in a rollover incident, which protects the driver in the event of rolling over. And then between the driver and the rear bulkhead is the fuel cell. And the rear bulkhead is basically where the chassis finishes and the rest of the car begins. And it’s held on just using a handful of fasteners only.
End transcript: Video 5
Video 5
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The tub is made from carbon fibre composites. As a cocoon for the driver, it needs to be immensely strong and is subject to a range of impact tests to ensure that it meets the standards stipulated by the governing bodies of Formula 1.

We also know that all the car’s major components such as the engine are mounted directly onto the tub. And that the suspension members carry the forces generated by the wheels into the tub and out into the rest of the car.

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