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University of Hertfordshire – reduced weight part

plenum-chamber-1296560274     plenum-chamber-2-1296559781

The Brief:
The University of Hertfordshire is among the leading Universities in the UK for Engineering and Motorsport students. It is very well established within the automotive industry, having run Automotive Degree courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level for over 30 years.

This is the 10th year that the University will be participating in the Formula Student competition with the development of their UH10 race car. The team approached 3T RPD Ltd for sponsorship and they were delighted to build a plenum chamber for their intake system using Selective Laser Sintering technology.

The Solution:
One of the key factors for the team’s decision to use the plastic AM process was the weight saving benefits derived from it. The Nylon material used by 3T in building the part offered high levels of functionality, durability and strength, thereby allowing the wall thicknesses to be reduced. This minimised the overall weight of the components, thereby improving the car’s performance on the race track.

The ability of plastic AM to create complex forms also meant that the team could make their design as complicated as they liked. The ‘selective’ nature of the lasers during the building process and the ability to build parts without structural supports, means that plastic AM lends itself perfectly to the intricate shapes often demanded by 3T’s customers, particularly those in the Automotive sector.

The Result:
The engineering students at the University are well equipped to carry out the necessary testing and research on their race car – a new automotive centre opened there in 2002 giving them extensive engine test facilities, laboratories for dynamics, materials, structures and aerodynamics, composite manufacturing and a new vehicle ride simulation experimental facility. They also have a moving ground for the wind tunnel and extensive state-of-the-art software for modelling all aspects of car and engine performance.

Extra bits:
This is new technology for the University so they will be carrying out extensive research and pressure testing on the plenum chamber, with a view to establishing whether the material and process is a viable manufacturing option for other areas of the car. The plastic AM component will withstand very high vacuums generated by the engine when running, and in 3T’s past experience with other Formula Student teams, the Nylon material is more than capable of performing well under these arduous conditions.

Related links:
University of Hertfordshire

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