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Race Car Design

Race Car Design

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Published by arslan

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Published by: arslan on Jul 15, 2009
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Race Car DesignStudy and Understand
Race car design and construction demands a thorough understanding of the systems andcomponents that make up the car, as well as an understanding of the physics involved.Before beginning design work on a car, you should understand how things work and why, sothat when designing any individual component, the rest of the car's design intent can be takeninto account.
Learning Sources
The first source for someone without the additional funds for a university degree, should be thelibrary. Hundreds of booksandmagazines exist relating to the concepts you will need for  design, and the most useful of these are race car specific. Some of the most useful titles for general race car design are:
- Forbes Aird, ISBN: 0-7603-0283-9 - A book aboutchassis design - excellent, with historical info.
- Herb Adams, ISBN: 1-55788-055-7 - Handling, suspension design,physical forces - excellent.
and other 
'To Win' 
books - Carroll Smith, ISBN: 0-87938-186-8 - Another excellent book - Metallurgy, engineering tips, nuts/bolts/fasteners, brakes, wheels, plumbing...amust have book.
 - Forbes Aird, ISBN: 0-87938-916-8 - Goodinformation on materials used in race car fabrication.
- Technical articles on all aspects of race car design.
- Another superb source of technical articles and technology explanations.A technique that is helpful for the designer-to-be, is to transcribe concepts that are of interestinto a notebook or a computer. Later when working on the design you can easily refer to theappropriate reference, provided you categorize the information. One thing that cannot bestressed more...Reading is cheap..Redesigning is expensive.
The second source for design information comes from observation and hands-on. It is a major advantage to be able to study somebody else's work, especially if their car is winning races.Better still is the ability to work on a winning car. Good designers connect things in a logical,and sometimes ingenious way, and observing the nuances of a design with your new foundknowledge is a good way to learn even more.There is also the internet. While a number of siteson the internet provide good information, it isdarn hard to find. Books are the best way to learn, especially for the new student of race car  design. However, there are a great number of web sites which provide valuable information inthe form of guides, FAQs and tutorials.Searching usually takes a while, and general race car  design principles are probably best learned frombooks, but sometimes you will run across goodstuff.
The Best Way To Learn
The best way for a would-be designer to learn is by first determining what type of car they wishto build. Learning everything there is to know about every type of car is admirable (and useful),but will lengthen the time required to ultimately complete your particular car. Learn all you canabout the physics and features of the class or style you are building for, and you will have built afairly solid basis for building a competitive car in that class. Then, be aware of other classtechnologies.
What You Must Know
The construction of a race car is not a light matter. If you do not understand critical areas of racecar design, you will likely have a critical failure at some point, which could lead to injury or death. If a grey area exists in your knowledge, refer to your books or to a mentor who has beenracing for a long time in your chosen class.Here are the some of the key things you should understand before designing:
Suspension / Handling
Inertial forces about a car that is cornering, accellerating and braking
Weight distribution and it's effect on the above
Tire/wheel properties (Tread, rubber compounds, wheel materials)
The relationships between tire and road
The center of gravity and roll center relationship
Unsprung weight
Suspension geometry and handling
Anti-roll bar principles
Damper/shock absorber principles
Suspension components, their use and placement for optimum performance
Troubleshooting methods
Chassis Construction
Structural design principles, most spaceframe design
Load and forces which affect the race car 
Designing for the safety of the driver 
Materials and their physical properties (Tensile strength, elasticity, etc.)
Joining methods (Welding, brazing, etc.)
Engine and Supporting Systems
A good understanding of the engine and drivetrain
Intake, cooling and exhaust principles
Engine placement and mounting principles
Transmission/Transaxle mounting principles
Final drive components and placement
Race car electrical systems
Troubleshooting methods
Principles of aerodynamics (Flow, pressure, etc.)
Tools of aerodynamics (wings, venturis, flow redirection, etc.)
Fiber/metal materials for bodywork and their fabrication
Structural requirements of bodywork and aero devices
Testing methods
Driver Support Systems
Driver safety considerations/driver support (Rollover, impacts)
Ergonomics of driver and controls
Fuel cells and fuel delivery
Fire extinguisher systems
Probably a bunch more....
That about sums it up. The process of designing a race car is started with a solid knowledgeand understanding. The more information you have, even without the benefit of past real-worldexperience, the more successful your car will be
Design Approaches
Now that you have studied and understood, it is time to consider the way to approach thedesigning of a car.Firstly, the design process for a race car is linear, that is, each step is followed in succession.However, being as there are a million different ways to build things, the designer is quite oftenforced to consider other components which relate to the area being designed. For example,when designing the suspension of a car, you inadvertently affect the structural shape of the car'schassis in and around where the suspension will mount. Therefore, it is wise to construct thesuspension first, keeping in mind the requirements of the things the suspension affects.Secondly, the design process demands a fair bit of estimation and compromise. Jugglingperformance, safety, efficiency and cost are what it's all about. This is where you wantspecifications ready to assist you in putting the pieces together.
Before You Get Started

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