CONSELF | Firenze Race Team and CONSELF in Formula SAE
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Firenze Race Team and CONSELF in Formula SAE

Firenze Race Team and CONSELF in Formula SAE

In this post we present the collaboration between CONSELF and Firenze Race Team, a division of the University of Florence taking part in the Formula SAE competition. Students, who just had a basic knowledge of CFD, have been able to grow required skills to manage this complex context and to carry out meaningful analyses within CONSELF platform. The key role of  a completely new customer support, able to guide the user step by step, and the cloud-based nature of the platform, which frees him from the critical computational burden typically involved in this context, is analyzed. In addition a brief description of what kind of analysis are carried out to prepare the car for this competition is also reported.

Formula SAE, one perfect context for Cloud-based simulation

The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a student design team to develop a small Formula-style race car. The prototype race car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. The target marketing group for the race car is the non-professional weekend autocross racer. Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules, whose purpose is both ensuring on-track safety (the cars are driven by the students themselves) and promoting clever problem solving.

The prototype race car is judged in a number of different events, each of which assigns a given number of points. In addition to these events, various sponsors of the competition provide awards for superior design accomplishments. For example, best use of E-85 ethanol fuel, innovative use of electronics, recyclability, crash worthiness, analytical approach to design, and overall dynamic performance are some of the awards available. At the beginning of the competition, the vehicle is checked for rule compliance during the Technical Inspection. Its braking ability, rollover stability and noise levels are checked before the vehicle is allowed to compete in the dynamic events (Skidpad, Autocross, Acceleration, and Endurance).

Formula SAE encompasses all aspects of a business including research, design, manufacturing, testing, developing, marketing, management, and fund raising. In such a context, where a limited amount of funds is available, a cost-effective solution, based on a modern Cloud technology, can have a huge impact. With this consideration in mind, CONSELF started a sponsorship collaboration with Firenze Race Team, a division of the University of Florence that takes part in the Formula SAE competition.

Side-pod simulation

One key point is the Cloud-based nature of CONSELF: in fact, since the simulation platform can be used on a common PC from a web browser, it allows to overcome the need of powerful workstations or computing clusters. No more limit on the number of simulations that can be run in parallel, nor their dimension. In addition two more factors make the usage of CONSELF really advantageous: its nature of web application opens the possibility of a completely new customer support experience. The user who is encountering problems, or simply needs assistance in the usage, can ask the support team to walk him step by step in the setup, to access his (online!) work space and check for mistakes he may have made and to actually correct them, carrying out pieces of analysis for him.

Moreover, CONSELF is bringing a very innovative approach in the simulation field, proposing simulations as a service: differently than the standard products proposal, with this new solution what is offered is the real value behind these analyses, the simulation time the user actually needs. To put students in contact with newest technology constitutes a real advantage for them, enriching their skills and preparing them for tools they will have to get familiar with in their future career.

“CONSELF provides OpenFOAM top-class performances within an intuitive user interface, and the Cloud-based nature of the platform allows to run multiple parallel simulations, removing the critical bottle neck of limited computing power during design phase.”

Under-tray simulation

How Firenze Race Team used CONSELF

Firenze Race Team carried out three different analysis with CONSELF on their race car model. Some examples of their work are represented in the images on this page. In particular they performed CFD analysis on:

  • Side-pod without radiator: the scope of the simulation was to investigate the influence of small lateral vents on performances. The reference value of incoming velocity has been set equal to 12 m/s that is the mean speed in a couple of real tests the car will have to go through
  • Under-tray: the aim of this analysis was to evaluate different shapes, especially angles at leading and trailing edge, to find an optimal solution in terms of efficiency, reducing losses as much as possible
  • Frontal node: this study goal was to maximize efficiency too. It is particularly important because it is the first portion of the car that interacts with the incoming free flow, and it is also constrained by regulation standards as well as occupant size

The innovative approach CONSELF provides has made this collaboration really fruitful. Students who had just a very basic understanding of CFD and no knowledge at all of the specific Platform at the beginning of the collaboration, have been able to quickly learn how to carry out meaningful analysis thanks to direct support and training activity CONSELF provides to all its customers. Moreover they were able to leverage the power of a Cloud infrastructure making simulation computational burden painless for them.

This very same experience can be transferred to every industrial environment where cost-effective and flexible solutions represent a huge advantage. Software provided as a Service is the new way to go to reduce costs and to make advanced technology available to everyone.

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CONSELF wants to make state of the art, cutting edge technology, available to every professional in the globe.

CFD & FEM simulation software is a very powerful tool, with its adoption optimization and innovation can be achieved in every field. To make this instrument accessible to everyone means lowering costs, but mainly to develop an infrastructure that favours a super-easy adoption by market new entrants.

CONSELF is highly committed and will pursue this goal working side by side with professional and industries to define the best strategies and solutions.

Alessandro Palmas –

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