Fourth Year Engineering
Design of a Formula Student Cooling System
(Heat Transfer, Aerodynamics and Mechanical Engineering project, Marko Plevnik)
"I chose this project which involves a team of students working together to design and build a racing car for an imaginary client, mainly because of the team work aspect. We have been working to the rules devised for the national 'Formula student' competition, even though we are not entering the competition this year. This means that components of the car such as the engine and wheels are specified, and we have to work on the design to maximise speed, efficiency and handling, whilst also keeping the cost down, ensuring ease of maintenance and making the car look attractive.
My part of the project has been to work on the cooling system. This means I have been working closely with the people working on the engine, aerodynamics and overall packaging. I have been evaluating the water pump as well as the radiator design. The engine we are using is actually for a motorcycle, and we have to consider how we can make this run more efficiently and cheaply. Some of my experimental work has involved using a wind tunnel out at the Whittle Laboratory, as well as running trials in the Thermodynamics Laboratory. I had the idea that we might be able to use the bodywork of the car to act as a novel cooling system, but that did not work out very well in practice. It is important to come up with some novel ideas, though.
As a team, we organise weekly meetings and the whole experience of working together on a project has been very instructive - and that is, of course, how engineers tend to work in industry."
The project is sponsored by Jordan Grand Prix, and three of the team members had vacation work with them. Some have been offered jobs for when they finish!