1ST AT FORMULA SOUTH
Clemson University scores 1st place at Formula South! It’s been a long journey to get this car to a competition and we couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s incredible hard work to make this happen! We were able to beat The University of Alabama, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Kennesaw State University in a regional battle for the win.
It’s been over 2 years since we’ve had the opportunity to go to a competition. We’ve faced many setbacks since the pandemic but we’ve never given up. Everyone on our team shares a passion for engineering, teamwork, and racing that’s what has allowed us to continue to learn and grow.
This competition taught us that hard work and perseverance really does pay off. Spending countless late nights at the shop and long test days on campus have taught us that with enough time and effort any problem can be solved when we work together! And even though our aero package failed just a few weeks before comp, and our electrical system malfunctioned the night before, we kept our heads up, stayed focused, and found a way to adapt and overcome!
We look forward to our next competition at Michigan International Speedway in May where we will compete against over 100 teams from across the world. We will have our complete aero package on the car that will showcase our sponsor decals.
OUR AERO PACKAGE
Last month we finished the assembly of our aero package! The results were incredible and our composites and aero division did a tremendous job designing, and building a package that produces an estimated 240lbs of downforce at only 45 mph! Unfortunately, during testing the mounts on our rear wing airfoils failed and pulled out of the airfoil by wallowing out the foam inside. This was attributed to choosing an airfoil foam that was not dense enough to withstand the necessary loads and not accounting for how the forces could wear away the foam. Using a less dense foam material was initially
chosen in order to reduce the weight of the aero package. We didn’t foresee the foam eroding in the way that it did, but nonetheless, this was a valuable learning lesson for everyone involved.
The team is currently evaluating alternative mounting options to reduce or eliminate forces the foam sees by changing mounting design, reinforcing the strength of the airfoils, and potentially remaking them with denser foam. We would not have been able to build our aero package if it wasn’t for our generous composite material and tooling foam sponsors! We plan to have our aero package ready for Michigan International Speedway in May. We were unable to run our aero package at Formula South and because most of our sponsorship decal layout requires the use of the front and rear wing, we weren’t able to have decals on the car for the competition, but we are very excited to showcase our sponsors once our aero package is back together and
on the car!
*Sponsorship Decal Layout is tentative and subject to change.*
In 2020, the team’s engine dyno was damaged beyond repair and we have been unable to properly tune our powertrain package or validate our Ricardo WAVE simulation models since. With the help of Toyota Racing Development, we were able to purchase a replacement engine dyno from DYNOmite! With a new dyno in hand, the team plans to create a comprehensive tune using 100 octane fuel donated from Sunoco and high compression pistons discounted from Wiseco in preparation for Michigan. The dyno will also be used to validate our theoretical models and help us make informed decisions for our future powertrain packages. Using this equipment, our team members will be able to learn the principles of race engine design and tuning, and apply fluid- and thermodynamics in an advanced application. Our new engine dyno will provide ample learning for generations of Clemson engineering students to come and we can’t wait to share more in our next newsletter!
A THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
Without the support of our sponsors, we couldn’t do what we do and Clemson wouldn’t be able to offer such a unique and enriching learning opportunity for its students. Everything on the team is done by students for students and Formula SAE attracts the best and brightest people who are passionate about what they do and are dedicated to learning something new every day. We encourage anyone who has sponsored the team to reach out to us if they are interested in engaging with the team via a visit, a virtual talk, a tour or by any other means. Your contributions are directly contributing to the success of dozens of students so on behalf of the team, we thank you.
Over the last year, Mingyang Gao – a very talented ME student – has been developing both a launch control and throttle by wire system for our vehicle. In order for these systems to function properly, Mingyang has researched how to implement and fine tune these systems, made firmware changes in the vehicle’s ECU, and drafted a failure mode and effects analysis for the throttle by wire system. Testing on launch control has already begun and is proving successful. Throttle-by-wire is yet another target to have ready for Michigan. “Most of the action will happen in the next month or two. What I’ve learned is that having other knowledgeable people on the team that I can consult when I encounter a problem makes the problem solving process more efficient
and less daunting, also I learn from them every time I ask questions.”
-Mingyang Gao, Senior Mechanical Engineering
Student and Powertrain Division Member