At Quantum Victoria students have the opportunity to design a Formula 1 racing vehicle using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, engage in mathematical modeling, analyze computational fluid dynamics by using a virtual wind tunnel, and then construct their design using a manufacturing unit. They will then race their designs to see who truly has “The Need for Speed.”
This program is multi-faceted and multidisciplinary – it is true PBL. It inspires students to learn about engineering principles such as physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacturing, leadership, teamwork, media skills and project management, and then apply them in practical, creative and exciting ways. It raises awareness of careers and pathways related to Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). Students use industry level, 3D CAD/CAM and simulation technologies to design, analyze, test, manufacture and race miniature CO2 powered balsa wood cars.
After this 5 day program, students and schools may well be inspired to compete in the F1 in Schools Challenge and work their way to a spot in the World Championships!
Using CATIA, this is an intial design based on design specifications that basically constrain the car to the size of the material being used – in this case balsa with dimensions 223x50x65.
Using the Generative Structural Analysis capabability of CATIA, this is a preliminary Finite Element Analysis to see how the design holds up under external forces.
Using this technique students engage in some sophisticated property analysis of materials including Young’s modulus, Poisson’s ratio, Density, Yield strength’s and coefficients of thermal expansion and look to optimize their design in relation to the material being used.
As part of marketing their car and producing an exhibition display space, students have to produce photo-realistic images and put together an assembly so that their design actually looks like an F1 racing vehicle.
They then render their car assembly to make it appear as if the car is actually real – granted this attempt is miserable (Still learning about photorendering…)
Collaborations between industry partners and actual designers and engineer’s are encouraged, as students learn about computational fluid dynamics, virtual wind tunnels and CAM processes. Put this all together with designing team shirts, public speaking, project planning, development and management, resource procurement, graphic design and manufacturing engineering, resource management and team work, make this program one with incredible depth.
A photo of a half-machined car. (In the background is our MRC40 CNC Router)