The Deep Orange Program of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive
Research (CUICAR) is a graduate automotive engineering program that immerses students
into the working environment of the automotive OEM and supplier. Working collectively,
students, multi-disciplinary faculty, and participating partners focus on designing
and fabricating a new vehicle prototype over a period of two years.
The cockpit of the bloodhound land speed record attempt car houses a bespoke driver’s seat. The seat is of composite sandwich construction comprising carbon composite facing skins with two types of core, aluminium honeycomb and foam. The internal profile is moulded to the drivers shape with provision made for the drivers hand operation of the levers, this is the reason for the large cutaway sections either side. Optistruct is used to structurally optimise the carbon-fibre laminate. Seat strength loadcases set by the worldwide motorsport governing body, the FIA, are used as a basis for this study but for this particular application as guideline only.
The Challenge: Remove Weight and Improve Performance
In this project, DUEM wanted to demonstrate how they have applied the latest weight
saving technology to achieve a faster, more efficient car by optimising an upright design
for multiple load cases.
One of the key research activities within the institute is concerned with the development of enhanced human surrogate models for sports personal protective equipment (PPE) research. Impact surrogates are used to provide a representation of a living human which can then be impacted under injurious loading conditions such as a ball impacting the thigh to understand the response behaviour.
The targets for the 2015 vehicles were to reduce frictions and masses in order to minimize fuel consumption. Starting from there, one of the most critical issues was the wheel rim design. Lighter rims lead to less rotating masses, reducing energy consumption and improving the dynamic behavior of the vehicle. To this end, the geometry of this specific component had to be optimized: the ideal structure and mass distribution had to be determined, while also taking manufacturing constraints into account. For these development tasks the H2politO team had to apply sophisticated computer-aided engineering (CAE) tools which would support a simulation driven design process and enable early decision making by proposing possible design directions for further improvements of the vehicles.
To determine the optimal solution and to meet the requirements regarding both, performance and low weight at the same time, is a big
development challenge. To further improve the car’s performance the team selected those vehicle components for a redesign that looked
most promising in terms of reducing weight while increasing stiffness. One of the chosen components was a suspension rocker. Here the team
strove not only for a weight reduction but also for an increased component stiffness to improve the suspension system‘s precision for a better
All teams know that in order to finish among the best in each category – from design to costs
to racing performance, their car has to show the best possible performance while also being
light. While safety aspects play a big role, the components also have to be stiff enough to
support a better dynamic performance of the race car and they have to provide a certain
structural strength to endure the loads that occur at the speed at which the car is driven.
One major challenge of the project was therefore to reduce the overall weight of the car while
keeping an eye on component stiffness and internal stresses at different loading conditions.
This success story illustrates how a reputed engineering institute of national acclaim has set-up a CAE – Optimization Lab, equipped with Altair HyperWorks CAE tools, to expose their students to the latest technologies in product design, analysis, and optimization.
Within the range of the CAE – Optimization Lab, CoEP has launched various courses to impart knowledge on Altair HyperWorks. This CoEP initiative bridges the gap between industry expectations and needs and the knowledge that graduating students possess. Being trained on advanced and contemporary technologies such as the HyperWorks suite has opened new opportunities for students to embark their career, has improved the national ranking of the college due to investing in a modern and robust infrastructure, and also has benefitted the industry by creating a talent pool of well-trained manpower, available to work on breakthrough engineering initiatives.
In the season of 2010/2011 the Team Elbforace decided to switch from a combustion engine to an electrical powertrain concept. This brings in additional weight due to the use of accumulators and AC converters. To optimize the race car performance, the design of the remaining components of the car had to be optimized to a minimum weight.
Since simulation and optimization are growingly becoming more important in the everyday work
life of an engineer, the IFB Stuttgart has been offering a class in lightweight design for several
years, using HyperWorks to teach students all the fundamentals they need to know about FE,
pre- and post-processing, and optimization tasks. This lecture enables the students to design
weight optimized components in a state-of-the-art design process and allows them to gain
experience in the usage of modern CAE tools.