We are currently in the manufacturing phase for our 2013-2014 combustion and electric cars.
We will be racing at Formula Student Germany and FSAE Lincoln in Summer 2014.
2013-2014 Applications are now closed.
Building a two cars is an expensive undertaking. During Team 24, the team successfully raised $7,335 via crowd-funding platform Microryza, now called Experiment.com, to purchase the eCar’s motor and controller. This year, the team is planning on raising funds for more than just one aspect of the car.
While most of the components purchased with donated funds will still end up being electrical parts, due to the lack of product sponsorship for these expensive pieces, some will also be spent purchasing other car parts as well. The team requires cash for 2 electric motors with individual inverters and controllers for both, aluminum honeycomb for the chassis, tires, computer parts, engine upgrades and internals, brake calipers, and much more.
“Without these electronic items, the eCar doesn’t exist at all,” said Jon Anderson, PR team lead. “But brakes are important, too. Without [these] we can’t compete.”
In order to donate to our new crowdfunding site, all donors have to do is click the “Donate” tab on our website, or follow this link. This will redirect you to the Selfstarter donations page, where you can donate through your Amazon Marketplace account the same way you would purchase a book on Amazon.
With manufacturing in full swing, The Daily's Double Shot created a video profile about the team, inlcuding interviews in the pit with team members. This is part one, whereas Part 2 will be created during spring quarter.
Thanks to Simon Fox for the nice work!
Why Aerodynamics and Drag Reduction Systems?
Get a car going fast enough and the question comes into mind about how the vehicle will retain grip on the road. The answer to this issue lies in the aerodynamics of a car and the various packages that can come with it.
The general term for that is Aerodynamics which is the study of the movement of air and the interaction of air with objects – whether it’s cars, planes, or wind-turbines. On the team aerodynamics is referred to as ‘Aero’, which can be the sub-team or the study of the way the car moves through the air.
First used in the automotive field in the 1920’s by Edmund Rumpler with a ‘teardrop shape’ for the general public and used in motorsports shortly after, with the big progresses coming in the post-war era 50’s and 60’s and widespread use beginning in the 1970’s.
For the UW Formula Motorsports team, Aerodynamics is more than just a study of the air, it’s an integral part of completing the car and having it compete on an international level.
“The judges liked it and a lot of teams expressed admiration for the design. I suspect we will see a lot of teams with DRS [Drag Reduction System]...this year,” says Aerodynamics team lead, David Larson.
The aerodynamic qualities of the chassis will impact the fuel efficiency, handling, and acceleration of the car, not to mention that within the aerodynamics team, there is the drag reduction system that has the added pressure of…adding pressure.
The principle in a car's aero package is the opposite of an airplane – whereas airplanes use aerodynamics to force air over the wings, decreasing pressure on top and creating lift, the wing on a car forces air under itself causing a low pressure area underneath and creating what is called ‘downforce’. Downforce keeps your wheels in contact with the ground – those funky wings on faster cars provide this much needed downforce at higher speeds.
The more downforce a car has, the better grip (which can be beneficial in both top speed and in cornering) but also has an impact on fuel efficiency. The more downforce, the more energy is required to start movement or to propel it faster.
While our car does not go very fast and doesn’t require as much energy, the bigger brethren to our open wheeled car require tons of energy in order to propel them at the high speeds they obtain (higher speeds, bigger wings, bigger engines…).
In order to ensure that our Aerodynamics package is efficient, we use computer modeling and simulations, wind tunnel testing, and plenty of equations.
What makes the UW’s Aero and DRS unique?
Aerodynamics has been a part of the team for years, but it was the introduction of a dynamic drag reduction system that really propelled the team into higher rankings than in previous years. The package that we unveiled last year still needs to be improved upon, but what designs don’t.
We started a few years back with a static drag reduction system. Last year, we unveiled an automated drag reduction system.
Our dynamic drag reduction system encompasses the upper rear wing flaps, endplates, pneumatic piston, and computer system that tells the wings how to change during certain driving conditions.
This year, we will be improving upon our designs from the experiences we have had and the feedback from our peers and judges.
Very few teams have successfully implemented DRS, Larson explains to me. “We have.”
Monday will mark the beginning of the 6th week of our manufacturing phase. To view more pictures showing the implementation of our design, follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uwfsae.
We've been featured on the program for the University of Washington Mechanical Engineering Scholarship & Fellowship Luncheon!