Scottish Universities cleanup at FS 2010

10 August 2010

Scottish Universities have cleaned up at the recent Formula Student event that saw University of Aberdeen and Dundee scoop awards for efficiency and safety. The European student motorsport event is organised by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and pits university racing teams against each other.

University of Aberdeen’s car
University of Aberdeen’s car

The University of Aberdeen team won the Shell Award for the Most Fuel Efficient Car whil the University of Dundee picked up the E.ON UK Safety Award. The Scottish teams were awarded the prizes for the cars they designed and built from scratch.

FS was attended by more than 2,500 students from around 30 countries at Silverstone racetrack in the UK. The University of Aberdeen’s car was given the award for the second year running, while the University of Dundee collected its award for the best crash avoidance or impact mitigation system.

All cars underwent a number of dynamic and static tests at the four-day event. The fuel efficiency of the cars was measured during the 22km endurance event which focused on both speed and fuel economy. Fuel consumption was calculated accurately by recording how much refuelling was required after the lengthy course.

Daniel Ahrens, project manager of the Aberdeen team, said: “With fuel efficiency fast becoming an important selling point of vehicles, we carefully designed our car to maximise its power. After considering engine type and size, the team opted for a carburettor 450cc engine, while concentrating on keeping the car’s weight down to 210kg. We were really pleased as we managed to reduce the 2010 car’s weight by an impressive 45kg from the University’s 2009 car.”

The team ran on the least amount of fuel out of all the cars that completed the endurance test, won by TU Munich of Germany. The endurance test is won by the fastest car completing the event, but Aberdeen’s car finished with just half the fuel used by TU Munich. The UK team consumed only 1.793 litres of petrol to complete the 22km course which was also nearly a third less than the second most fuel efficient car. It also clocked up a cool 35mpg.

Nick Brown, marketing manager, Graduate Recruitment, UK & Ireland at Shell International said: “Increasing the efficiency of energy use in the 21st Century will play a significant role in meeting societies growing energy needs in an economically, environmentally and socially responsible manner.

“Shell is proud to support an event that encourages young engineers to develop qualities and skills vital to meeting this challenge, such as creativity, collaboration and resilience. These are qualities at the heart of Shell’s graduate recruitment process and why we gain such value in our partnership with FS,” added Brown.

The University of Dundee impressed judges by creating a ‘novel design’ using aluminium honeycomb for energy absorption. Its manual tests of the effects of an impact won the team the safety award for the first year.

All teams were required to present crash test results looking at the energy absorbed and how much the vehicle was deformed by an impact. This was done either via manual testing or virtually using computer aided systems.

FS 2010 also encouraged students to use sustainable and low impact materials and processes. This year the University of Central Lancashire team used balsalt fibre, derived from volcanic rock, throughout the manufacture of their car due to the sustainability of the material in comparison to other composites such as carbon. The University of Warwick team made an eco-seat for its car made from coconut husk, bamboo strand fabric and natural forming latex.

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