HVM Working With UNC Charlotte Students
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – UNC Charlotte Motorsports engineering students wrapped up the first step of their senior design project this weekend when they finished scanning the No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Indycar.
Three students, Brandon McSwain, Jonathan Brissenden and Clinton Fields, under the supervision of project mentor Dr. Mesbah Uddin, will use the data gathered from the scan to create a 3-D computer model of the car.
The race car, which was used during the entire 2012 IZOD IndyCar season, was delivered to the UNC Charlotte campus on Oct. 8.
The seniors began work almost immediately with the help of HVM Racing crew member Randy Smay, who was on site to disassemble the car as needed for scanning. Each student logged roughly 100 hours during the two weeks that the car was in the campus’ motorsports research lab.
The project came about through collaborative efforts of HVM Racing, their sponsor AREVA, and the Motorsports division of Mechanical Engineering department at UNC Charlotte.
“In the middle of the summer we were approached by UNC Charlotte and AREVA for ideas on senior student programs,” said Tom Brown, technical director for HVM Racing. “Together we provided several ideas, and ways to move forward, on projects that would benefit the students, increase their knowledge and understanding of a particular technical aspect of our business.”
Brown offered several options to Dr. Uddin for consideration before the group decided on the direction the project would take.
“A CFD study on how to improve the aero aspects of the front of the car was our main focus,” Brown said. “As engineers we can gain a certain amount of aerodynamic information from windtunnel testing, but CFD offered us the opportunity to look at multiple case studies. The aim is to improve the downforce, reduce the drag at the same time decreasing pitch sensitivity over multiple ride heights and steering angles. Not an easy task. Having the full size car at their disposal allowed the group to scan the actual car, build the models and prepare for the next stage of putting it all together and preparing for the CFD runs.”
Security was tight around the motorsports lab for the two weeks that the Indycar was on campus for the project.
“As a motorsports engineering professor at UNC Charlotte,” Dr. Uddin said. “I always vie to provide my students with a feel of the life in a real racing world. The experience that the three senior design students had during the last two intense weeks while the HVM Nuclear Clean Air Energy Indy racecar was here at UNC Charlotte’s new Motorsports lab, in my opinion, is second to none. The students viewed the opportunity of dismantling an actual racecar and then building its digital model for future analysis as the best one they could ever have as engineering students. This is the first time our program has had the privilege to get involved with the nation’s second most popular racing series.”
HVM Racing’s sponsor AREVA was instrumental in bringing the project together having worked with UNC Charlotte on other projects in the past.
“This initiative became a reality only due to the enormous support we received from the managements of both HVM and AREVA,” Uddin continued. “Although AREVA has been one of the most active industrial sponsors of UNC Charlotte’s Senior Design program, we believe that their involvement with our motorsports engineering, a theme that may be viewed as one of the best tools to attract our future engineers to STEM discipline, will add a new dimension to our existing collaboration.”
AREVA was excited to be part of the dynamic that made the project possible.
“Over the years, AREVA and UNC Charlotte have enjoyed a long standing and positive relationship in the Charlotte community,” Matt Dryden, Vice President of Marketing for AREVA, Inc. said. “Furthering that cause, this Senior Design Project, in conjunction with HVM Racing and the Nuclear Clean Air Energy Initiative provides a unique and innovative opportunity to link the classroom with real world application; all while promoting advances in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational awareness; a key competency the nuclear industry will need replenishing for years to come. Thanks also to HVM for making the Indy car available to the students.”
All parties considered the project a success.
“We, at HVM, have been enormously impressed with the skills and dedication of the students and applaud their decision to take on this project,” Brown said. “The facilities the students have, the strength of the UNC Charlotte Engineering department is something HVM are extremely pleased to be associated with. We want to thank AREVA and UNC Charlotte for allowing us to be partners in helping the students work on this project, and hope in the future we can be available to be part of any future endeavors.”