How to spot a hot rac­ing car

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - MAINTENANCE MATTERS -­eren­quiry #141133

Ev­ery year, en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents from around the world are chal­lenged to de­sign and build a sin­gle-seat rac­ing car to demon­strate their knowl­edge and tal­ent.

In a world­wide com­pe­ti­tion called For­mula Stu­dent, each car is put to the test in static and dy­namic events that test the per­for­mance of the ve­hi­cle. The Tech­ni­cal Univer­sity of Delft in the Nether­lands has been par­tic­i­pat­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion since 2001. In 2014 Delft’s DUT Rac­ing team is aim­ing to de­sign the most ef­fi­cient and high­per­for­mance elec­tri­cal rac­ing car with the help of ther­mal imag­ing cam­eras.

For­mula Stu­dent aims to in­spire and de­velop en­ter­pris­ing and in­no­va­tive young en­gi­neers. This high­per­for­mance en­gi­neer­ing project is not only ex­tremely val­ued by col­leges and univer­si­ties world­wide, it is also viewed by the mo­tor­sport in­dus­try as the bench­mark for en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ates, tran­si­tion­ing them from univer­sity to the work­place.

For­mula Stu­dent started in 1981 in the US, to­day the com­pe­ti­tion is joined by more than 500 teams. The DUT Rac­ing team now con­sists of 80 peo­ple..

Stu­dents of the DUT team are housed at the Delft Univer­sity cam­pus where they can make use of the most ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies to de­sign their rac­ing car. One of th­ese tech­nolo­gies is ther­mal imag­ing. When de­sign­ing an elec­tri­cal car, it can be im­por­tant to mon­i­tor tem­per­a­tures in real time. In the case of DUT Rac­ing team, a ther­mal imag­ing cam­era from Flir Sys­tems is used to check for hot spots in bat­tery cells, mon­i­tor the tem­per­a­ture pro­file of car tyres and test car elec­tron­ics.

Mar­i­nus Geuze, chief elec­tron­ics at the Delft For­mula Stu­dent team says: “With the Flir ther­mal imag­ing cam­era, we can mon­i­tor the tem­per­a­ture pro­file of the tyre. A uni­form tem­per­a­ture across the full tyre sur­face is very im­por­tant in terms of per­for­mance. With the tem­per­a­ture in­for­ma­tion we re­ceive from the ther­mal imag­ing cam­era, we can ad­just the sus­pen­sion of the car.

“We also want to use ther­mal imag­ing to test our printed cir­cuit boards and see which com­po­nents get hot when in op­er­a­tion.”

The Flir T640 is a hand­held ther­mal imag­ing cam­era. With the crisp im­age of 640 x 480 pix­els the small­est of de­tails can be seen. An in­tu­itive user in­ter­face with touch screen make the T640 easy to use.

“The im­por­tant thing for us was ob­tain­ing good video images to be able to re­ally mon­i­tor the com­po­nent be­hav­iour dur­ing a cy­cle in real-time,” says Bauke Kooger.

Ca­bles with a low cur­rent rat­ing are put to the test. If ap­proved for use, th­ese ca­bles will con­trib­ute to keep­ing the weight of the car low.

The T640 is used to de­tect hot spots of bat­tery cells with dif­fer­ent load cases.

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