UK Engineering Companies Provide Composite Design Support

03 September 2004

Brunel University's team propelled itself into the design finals of the international Formula Student event with help from two Warwickshire-based engineering consultancies.

Formula Student teams design, build and test a high quality racing car, using innovative design features and materials, with assistance from their respective tutors and technical staff, and also from their sponsoring companies.

The Formula Student event, held at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground in Leicestershire, UK, consists of a variety of time trials, including an endurance race, a straight-line sprint and a figure of eight skidpan-handling test.

Engineering consultancy GRM Consulting helped them to use finite element analysis (FEA) to establish the most efficient way to lay the carbon fibres for the driver's cockpit.

Engineering design consultancy Bertrandt UK provided CAD support and also assisted the students to develop rapid prototypes of uprights and a dry sump plate.

This year, teams from 67 universities throughout Europe put their cars through the trials. Brunel's entry, BR5, not only reached the design finals but the team also lifted the Sir Henry Royce memorial prize for craftsmanship.

Michael Guffog, a member of the Brunel University team, said: ""The support we received from Bertrandt and from GRM was invaluable and has helped us develop our own knowledge of design and materials"".

""In the end our vehicle BR5 not only looked stunning but the monocoque - the driver's cockpit - was commented on very favourably by the judges and helped us become one of only eight design finalists"".

Bertrandt UK's parent company was a major sponsor of the event and also sponsored an entry from Hamburg University.

Bertrandt UK general manager, Michael Collins, said: ""We firmly believe that the best way for us to recruit the high calibre staff we need in our business is to develop relationships with the universities who are developing the engineers and designers of tomorrow"".

""We are therefore delighted to have been associated, once again, with a high profile event that is helping students to learn about the design process as it happens in the commercial world - the technologies, testing, teamwork, deadlines and budgeting that are all factors"".

For GRM consulting, Martin Gambling said: ""Our work complements Bertrandt's design expertise"". ""We worked with the students using Genesis, our composite optimisation software to work out the optimum lay-up of the carbon fibres for the monocoque design, to ensure that we retained maximum strength using minimum weight"".

""It was a fabulous event and the enthusiasm of the students to develop a truly innovative vehicle using the very latest technologies and materials was inspirational"".

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