How to spot a hot racing car
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.