/ How does Ansys software help us to improve the performance of our car?

Évènement  - 15 avril 2021 

Improve aerodynamics with Ansys Fluent

Aerodynamics is a full-fledged department in Formula Student and the subject of an in-depth study on the Efficiency Prototype within Vinci Eco Drive, an association of the Leonardo Da Vinci university campus (Paris La Défense).

Regarding the Formula Student, the objective is to design a car with technical characteristics equivalent to those of the Formula 1 but at a student scale. An aerodynamic pack must be built to allow the car to be driveable, agile and adhere properly to the road. Before even talking about manufacturing, we had to carry out a thorough study in order to get the most out of our pack. Using ANSYS Fluent, we were able to study the behaviour of different wing profiles to determine which ones created the most downward force. Between bibliographic studies, modelling, simulation and analysis of results, we were able to create a package that respected our constraints and met the objectives set. 

The Efficiency Prototype, due to its low consumption target, has been designed to create the least drag. Its shape of a water drop, wide nose and fine tip was studied using ANSYS Fluent in 2D, in order to save calculation time. It is thanks to these studies that we hit our track record last year by travelling more than 3,700 km using the equivalent of a litre of gasoline. 

Thanks to ANSYS, we were able to build the chassis of our historic prototype as well as the aerodynamic package of our new project.

Reduce the weight with Ansys ACP and Ansys Topology Optimization

Reducing the weight of our vehicles is one of the main ways of improving performance. Indeed, this reduction implies both an increase in efficiency, thus reducing the consumption of our vehicles, and an improvement in agility, which are two of the major performance criteria for our prototypes in competition.  

On the one hand, the Efficiency Prototype focuses on a drastic reduction in the mass of all its components, retaining only the useful material down to the last gram.   

On the other hand, the Formula Student is a vehicle in which all the mass is used for performance. Just like a Formula 1, or the Efficiency Prototype to a lesser extent, the aim is to limit unnecessary weight. This involves the use of lightweight materials, innovative shapes – such as honeycomb, known for its resistance to normal stress and the little material used to design it-. Thus, our vehicle, which is lighter, can gain speed and acceleration and break records on the track. 

To reduce the weight of our vehicles, we use carbon fibre parts as much as possible, both for the chassis, the aerodynamic pack parts and certain ground connection parts. To validate the composition and layering of our composite sandwiches, we use ANSYS ACP, which allows us to simulate and optimise our composite parts in order to design parts that are just as resistant as steel or aluminium parts while keeping a reduced weight.

Within our projects, we also use ANSYS to carry out topological optimisation on certain parts of the ground connection, always with a view to reducing the total weight of our vehicles.

Improve the reliability with Ansys structure

Reliability is a key element of performance. Indeed, we could neither be performing well while competing nor could we ensure the security of our pilot and nearby people if we had not reliability test-proven pieces. 

As such, it is upmost importance that we check and test our pieces under real conditions to make sure that they can withstand all the efforts they are likely to encounter during competitions.

So, we use ANSYS Structures in order to simulate both stresses and constraints that are applied to our parts in order to confirm their solidity.