Red Bull Racing Make Use of Firehole's Helius:MCT

12 August 2011

Firehole's Helius:MCT has been used by the Red Bull Racing team for optimisation of its composite design.

According to Firehole, the team used the software to provide a simulation demonstrating the evolution of failure beyond the first ply failure, and to accurately predict the performance of the structure. They added that a detailed FE model was run in the Abaqus environment, coupled with progressive failure analysis by Helius:MCT. Firehole say that the simulation predicted ultimate failure of the component to occur at 153% of the design load, whereas the final homologation test piece failed at 162% of the design load.

Firehole explain that the exercise revealed:
? Designing to first ply failure had resulted in an over-design, exceeding the targeted ultimate failure at 110-120% design load.
? The improved simulation accuracy would give Red Bull Racing confidence to optimise the design.
? The simulation also revealed the mode of failure and resulting structural efects. This allowed the team to distinguish between local failure - where the loads are redistributed within the laminate with minimal loss of structural integrity - and failures which result in loss of load carrying capability or where the component fails catastrophically.

Firehole say that the use of Helius:MCT meant that Red Bull Racing engineers were free to design alternative impact structures and asses their relative merits without the need for a costly and time-consuming test program. They add that Helius:MCT enables engineers to spend more time developing the design, compressing manufacturing schedules, and allocating more time to research and development.

Nick Chapman, Senior Structures Analyst at Red Bull Technology said ""Without the degradation of properties given by progressive failure, we could not predict the nonlinear effects prior to failure. The stress distribution at the point of ultimate failure may not be correct. Including these effects enables us to design a component with an appropriate margin of safety to the ultimate load capacity.

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