The Formula SAE® competition is a student design competition organized by SAE International (formerly Society of Automotive Engineers). Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has been a long-standing participant in the Formula SAE event, and entered its 21st car in 2013. Every year, the team from western New York builds a new car from the ground up, purchasing only the engine block, tires and bulk materials. It is entirely designed, constructed and completed by the students.
To help the students simulate and virtually test the vehicle design, Siemens PLM Software provided RIT with an in-kind software grant of Femap software through its academic program. The adoption of Femap at RIT was helped by Tyler Peterson, who served as chief engineer of the 2013 team. Tyler was introduced to Femap during a co-op assignment at SpaceX and was so impressed with it that he recommended the team replace its current FEA software when he returned to school.
Over the past few years, RIT has expanded the use of composite materials throughout the car. The team has used Femap to analyze every carbon fiber part on the car (as well as a few other assemblies), including the entire chassis, a chassis brace, steering support, engine mounts, intake plenum, wings, under tray, drive shafts and steering shafts. Designed yearly, the chassis is a monocoque design that is developed with the purpose of emphasizing torsional rigidity, minimizing weight and enhancing ergonomics.
You can read the full case study to find out more about how RIT used Femap to help design the Formula SAE race car.