As term one has reached its midway point, we are currently publishing a series of updates from our technical and business teams on what they have been up to so far this academic year. The first update from Milad and the Chassis team can be found here. Now, though it’s time for the second review, which comes from Charlie Williams, who heads up the Powertrain team.
First thing’s first, the engine: last year we used a KTM 450 SX F engine, and will be continuing its career in our car this year as well. Something that we will be updating, however, is the shifter.
WR5 saw a transition from a manual shifter to a pneumatic one; and this year, I shall be overseeing another change from pneumatic to electronic, which comes with an inbuilt gear position sensor and will greatly improve the drivability of the car.
The main issues the Powertrain experienced last year were that of noise, our oil breather hose and engine idling. On the first, we were setback at competition in breaking the track limits for sound, and so had to come up with a quick on-the-spot solution. With this in mind, this year we are going to design a new silencer so as not to incur those same noise problems that we are now aware of.
A similar redesign will take place with the oil breather hose as, quite simply, our current hose doesn’t do its job. Finally, when idling at competition, the engine was neither steady nor regulated. In redesigning the plenum, we will hope to resolve this ailment in the coming year.
My team is currently composed of around 25 active members split into five groups, each with their own individual design project. As well as the design work already noted, we will be working towards a design of a new fuel tank to stop bubbling. Further to this, we aim to add new aerodynamic side pods to the car, to improve radiator cooling efficiency.
Six weeks into term and we have already made significant headway with some of these tasks; we have been engaging in product research, exploring solutions that other teams adopted when they faced similar issues, and have been exercising general design engineering skills. Aside from this, we have also been able to research further into forced induction with our KTM engine.
With these projects progressing so well, I have enacted a Powertrain-design freeze for Christmas, in the hope that all of our early development goals are met on time, and we can begin manufacturing in due course.
Written by Chloe Wynne.