Formula Student, is the international competition that challenges students from more than 70 universities around the world, to design and build a single seater, high performance racing car as part of their Automotive Engineering degree course. After rigorous testing, each team takes part in racing events with the ultimate goal to win!
Strict regulations are placed on the design of both the chassis and engine, testing students engineering knowledge and creativity. Belfast based Rapid Prototyping bureau, Laser Prototypes, worked closely with students from the University of Ulster to supply both the plenum chamber and air inlay manifold for their 2008 car in Selective Laser Sintering.
The Selective Laser Sintering process allowed for the team to produce intricate components, which formed a key element of the teams engine development, taking engine performance from 69Bhp to 80Bhp. Selective Laser Sintering allows for the creation of intricate parts without compromising on dimensional stability and weight. Team Captain, Ronan Laverty commented “The large intake manifold, Laser Prototypes made for us, greatly helped with our engine development programme, and helped us achieve our highest points score in our teams history in the Formula Student competitions”.
All vehicles taking place in the Formula Student competition, must undergo strict testing prior to race to ensure reliability and safety of each design. The Selective Laser Sintering air inlay manifold demonstrated exceptional durability during the testing process with vibration testing showing no detrimental effect on the Selective Laser Sintering components. During pre-race testing the heat resistant nature of the Selective Laser Sintering Nylon material proved crucial with the engine reaching up to 13,000 rev/min the internal wall temperatures of the air inlay manifold peaked during the testing process.
These pre-race test conditions confirmed the reliability of the Selective Laser Sintering parts prior to the debut race at Silverstone.