Redesign of the UT Formula SAE Racecar Intake System

Photo of Mitchell Oduor, Hari Nadaraja, Preston Herrmann, Jonathan Mounsif Students: Mitchell Oduor, Hari Nadaraja, Preston Herrmann, Jonathan Mounsif

Sponsor: The University of Texas Society of Automotive Engineers

Date: Fall 2012

Requirements:
The intake system must maximize the output torque at the target RPM of 7000. Also, the torque curve should be relatively flat over the 6000 to 8000 RPM range, and that no flow separation can occur in the intake system. The layout of the intake must be compatible with the assembly of the rest of the racecar, including the frame, the engine, and the wheels, as well as several other components. Since the components of the intake system are manufactured by Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), the parts of the system must fit with the SLS build volume, an 11" x 11" x 11" cube.

Problem:
In 2011, the UT Formula SAE team switched from a 600cc four cylinder motorcycle engine to a 450cc single cylinder ATV engine for their race car to capitalize on the lighter weight of the smaller engine. The team designed a turbocharger for the smaller engine, but this approach increased the weight of the vehicle. This project focuses on developing a naturally aspirated intake system for the engine.

Solution:
The team used Ricardo WAVE and ANSYS Fluent to analyze and iteratively design SolidWorks models of the intake system. The WAVE simulation showed that using a runner length of 12 inches causes the torque to peak at 7000 RPM. WAVE also showed that using a plenum volume of 2 liters and adding a duct between the plenum and the restrictor increase the torques at all RPM values and flattens the curve. The Fluent analysis allowed visualization of the flow characteristics in the plenum and restrictor. By visualizing the flow to the team minimized the flow separation and optimized the geometry of the intake system. The SolidWorks models were then exported to the SLS machine for manufacture. The mass flow rate of the prototype was verified with Flowbench tests.

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