Projects: Driven to win
Competing against the cream of engineering students, the University of Manchester is taking a bespoke single-seater to race at Silverstone. They’re using the best epoxy for automobiles.
Formula Student is the world’s largest student engineering design competition with entries from around the world, including USA, Australia, India, Canada and the Far East, as well as a wealth of European teams. Entrants compete to design, build and race a formula style single seater racing car and this year PRO-SET® epoxy will be on the grid in a car designed by students from the University of Manchester.
“We’ve got a 40-strong team working on this project,” says Gary Hammersley, Formula Student Supervisor, Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to apply great engineering. We work to exacting specifications given by the Institute of Mechanical Engineering and aim to do as much as we can. However, health and safety considerations do limit us with what we can do onsite, so we’ve had to pull in outside help.”
That outside help takes the form of James Newman from J-Tec Composites (Maidenhead) who was brought onboard to build the nose cone for the racing car.
We’ve featured James before in epoxycraft and his epic career building carbon fibre components in the aeronautical and formula racing car sectors as he uses best epoxy for automobiles. So it’s no surprise that Gary turned to him for help in making real the students’ design.
“The challenge was using chemicals on the university premises,” says Gary. “James offered to sponsor us by building to our students’ design.”
“The students did a great job with the prototype,” says James. “I used their mould to make a thick fibreglass part which I then dressed to make a really smooth split mould, much the same as the students had done. I decided to make the carbon fibre part in two halves and join them after. This was due to access restrictions into the depth of the mould – I have no idea how they managed to make the prototype nose as one piece, how they got into the depth and length of the nose.”
James used a carbon fibre multi-layer process. He resin-infused the cone using PRO-SET INF 114 Infusion Epoxy Resin and a blended hardener to achieve the desired gel times. For the butt strap joint down the middle, he used WEST SYSTEM® epoxy and also applied a vacuum. His supplier, Ben Catchpole from Marine and Industrial, is always ready to lend helpful advice for using any of the products and with advice on the best epoxy for automobiles.
The competition takes place during July 2019, we’ll update you with how the student team got on later this summer. In the meantime, find out more about James’ work.
UPDATE: We’ve been sent these images of the final product – apparently the students did really well!