We have a long and successful track record of working with motorsport and high performance engineering companies. We have a client-focused group of researchers, lecturers and professors who are experts in relation to motorsport and high performance engineering. Read more Read less
Designing advanced structures using next generation lightweight materials is extremely challenging in motorsport, due to short development timescales and the significant financial investment in ensuring a design has competitive advantage. In reducing inherent structural weight, it is essential not to compromise safety, as structural integrity and designing for crashworthiness become key design drivers.
Key challenges include understanding how a structure, or material performs over its life cycle when subject to a range of static and dynamic (high strain rate) loading, including crash and impact, which requires expertise in numerical simulation, rate dependent material behaviour (include damage and failure) and testing.
We possess a strong, applied understanding and proven track record in the following areas:
Component/sub structure/full-scale testing and simulation
Coupon level material characterisation and simulation
Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Meshless Methods
Material model development (including plasticity/damage)
Modelling structures under extreme loading
Numerical methods development and application
Structural analysis and optimisation.
About our research
Our greatest strength is the ability to combine the academic rigour and long-term perspective of a university with the commercial and business focus of industry.
Our excellence in strategic and applied research has enabled us to make significant contributions to the world around us for over 60 years. We address real life challenges and focus on research that is of strategic and practical importance.
We provide a supportive research community for students and our academic work is regularly published in journal article, book or thesis form.
Working with us
We have extensive experience working with industry to investigate complex, engineering problems, either through collaborative research projects, or through consultation.
Areas of expertise and related research include:
• Active and passive aerodynamics and CFD
• Carbon reduction and environmental impact
• Energy recovery systems and energy efficiency
• High temperature engineering including coatings
• Low carbon vehicles
• Material and structural response to impact
• Material modelling and characterisation
• Multi-disciplinary optimisation
• Numerical methods development
• Novel structural concepts
• Powertrain development and refinement
• Precision engineering
• Simulation including the supply of race car simulators to F1
• Structural analysis and testing
• Structural health monitoring
• Structural integrity and FIA approved impact testing including F1 and LMP
• The motorsport business cluster
• Tyre modelling and characterisation
• Vehicle dynamics including on circuit and offroad
• Vehicle light weighting, novel materials and composites with special reference to niche vehicles
• Welding and joining.
With the testing capabilities available in-house, we can provide characterisation of materials to support product development, or to improve numerical prediction through simulation and subsequent optimisation.
From a numerical point of view, we have access to a range of commercial codes, which are available to businesses through research projects. This ensures that we maintain compatibility and consistency in model development, analyses and results.
In addition, due to our strong activity in numerical methods development and access to source code of DYNA3D, the group has developed its own meshless code for large deformation problems, including fluid-structure interactions.
This enables us to directly make changes to the code, or implement new material models to be able to support research/consultancy for next generation lightweight materials and is a significant strength and desirable from an industry point of view.
All research/consultancy work undertaken is subject to Non-Disclosure Agreements in place, in order to protect intellectual property (IP) of the company involved.
Capability to perform coupon level, component and full-scale vehicle testing at quasi static, in addition to dynamic (high strain rate) characterisation, using Hopkinson Bar, Taylor Cylinder and Plate impact tests.
Key facilities include:
• Compression Hopkinson Bars
• Digital Image Correlation for non-contact strain measurement
• Full Scale Torsional Testing Rig (chassis testing)
• One stage gas gun (low velocity)
• Range of Instron Test Machines and environmental chamber to undertake quasi-static, fatigue and low/high temperature testing
• Scanning equipment (surface imperfections, voids in composites, etc).
Numerical Methods Development
Provide research and consultancy in a range of commercial codes, in addition to development of in-house meshless code that is coupled with DYNA3D, which enables new material models/code improvements to be directly implemented.
Key capabilities include:
• Development and implementation of new elements and contact algorithms. LLNL-DYNA3D is the prime development platform
• Development of improved or new constitutive and damage models for transient and static analysis
• Implementation of models in computer codes, including as user material models in commercial codes
• Methods development for mesh free continuum mechanics methods including the Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) method
• Thermodynamically consistent damage and failure models for metals and composites.
Clients and partners
We have considerable experience with working with industry, including Formula 1 teams and low volume manufacturers.
• FP7 – European Union
• Technology Strategy Board (TSB)
• Alto Racing
• Andre Cars
• Apex Circuit Design
• ART Grand Prix
• Aston Martin
• Automotive Research Centre (ARC)
• Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
• Ford Racing
• Lanan Racing
• Lotus F1 Team
• McLaren F1
• Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1
• Motor Sport Association (MSA)
• Motorsport Industry Association (MIA)
• Pilbeam Racing Designs
• Red Bull Technology
• Sahara Force India
• Silverstone Circuits
• Suilven Racing
• Tiger Racing
• Williams F1