FSAE Thesis Topics 2016 THESIS & PROJECT IN FSAE Supervisor: Dr Andrei Lozzi, room S317, [email protected] 2016 Team leaders, FSAE workshop ...
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FSAE Thesis Topics 2016

THESIS & PROJECT IN FSAE Supervisor: Dr Andrei Lozzi, room S317, [email protected] 2016 Team leaders, FSAE workshop S116 Nick Athanasios [email protected] Alex Hutto [email protected] Serena Liu [email protected]

You are invited to apply to join the FSAE team for 2016 as a Thesis or Project student. What are presented here are the principal topics selected to improve the current car and continue the revolutionary development which is well underway for the 2016 and later cars. If you wish to join the team we want to interview you, to ensure that you understand what this field entails and what topic may suit you best.

The 2014 Sydney team. The top team from NSW.

An FSAE team is essentially a small company that has to design, manufacture and market a small competition car, all in one year. This task provides real-world engineering challenges and experiences. It requires a good deal of work, but it will begin to make you into a competent engineer, and provide you with excellent credentials when you apply for professional engineering positions. Critical Topics: 

Engine Intake and Exhaust Design:

The unique nature of the FSAE competition requires the design of specialised intake and exhaust systems to both meet FSAE rules, and to increase the efficiency and performance of our engines. The recent development of in-house dynamometers for engine tuning, and the development of Electronic Throttle Control systems, have presented the need for a more comprehensive design of our intake and exhaust systems.

FSAE Thesis Topics 2016

Our intake plenum with the 20 mm dia entry restrictor

Project Outlines: -

Review current and previous Intake and Exhaust system designs. Use CFD analysis to design and implement new Intake and Exhaust systems. Work with Engine tuning and Electronic Throttle Control design members to optimise engine performance.

Engine Tuning for better power and economy:

Engine tuning is one of the simplest and most effective ways of improving the performance of our car. With our new in-house engine and chassis dynamometers, optimal engine tuning has become much more achievable. This project will involve working with/implementing a new PE3 ECU, and the tuning and maintenance of our Aprilia 550cc V-Twin engines.

Our engine dynamometer under construction

FSAE Thesis Topics 2016

Project Outline: -

Work with the Electronics design team to implement a new PE3 ECU. Use the team’s in-house engine and chassis dynamometers to tune our Aprilia engines, working with the engine and drivetrain design teams. Investigate the feasibility of using the engine dynamometer to perform track simulations.

Suspension Analysis and Optimisation:

Suspension geometry design and tuning is the fundamental aspect of the design of our car, or any road-going vehicle. Understanding and documenting our past and present design would enable us to optimise our tuning capability during different dynamic event, while moving to a new chassis concept and downsized wheel package opens up the possibilities to explore other suspension layouts and options. Project Outline: -

Documentation of the characteristics of the existing suspension geometry designs. Utilisation of vehicle dynamic software (Lotus Shark) to design/optimise the suspension geometry for the 2017 car. Design and manufacture of suspension arms.

Chassis Analysis and Optimisation:

The 2016 season sees us moving from a full tubular space-frame chassis to a lighter, stiffer aluminium honeycomb monocoque (ALHC)/rear space-frame hybrid structure. A conservative approach has been taken in order for our first monocoque contender to be rule-compliance. Therefore, many areas of the design can be optimised for weight, stiffness and manufacturability for the next iteration.

The 2016 chassis under construction

FSAE Thesis Topics 2016

Project Outline: -

Review past relevant R&D theses and the current monocoque design. Preparation, realisation and documentation of required testing as per FSAE rule. Design and manufacture of an ALHC/space-frame chassis. Completion of the Structural Equivalency Spreadsheet.

Steering System:

The steering system is a critical and interesting topic on the design of our car. Not only is it closely related to the vehicle dynamics/suspension geometry of the car, but other aspect such as driver comfort and packaging also need to be put into consideration in order to optimise the drivability and manufacturability of the vehicle.

Coordinate system of rack & pinion

Coordinate system of steering wheel system The Intermediate shaft has to be adjustable, to ensure lower universal is on the pinion centre line

Project Outline: -

Review past in-house manufactured design solutions. Design and manufacture a steering system for the 2016 car. Feasibility study and packaging of the Miltera steering rack.

Drivetrain and Drive Shaft Design:

Typically, FSAE cars use heavy CV joint-based drive shafts to drive the rear wheels. Past theses have suggested new designs that could significantly lower the mass of the drive shafts, such as the use of flexible couplings and hollow tubes, possibly manufactured from Aluminium or Carbon Fibre. For the 2016 FSAE car, new, lighter drive shafts need to be designed and manufactured. As part of this, a comparison between new and existing drive shaft designs will need to be performed, and ultimately designed and manufactured.

FSAE Thesis Topics 2016

Project Outlines: -

Perform a comparison between different potential drive shaft designs. Design, manufacture and test new drive shafts for the 2016 FSAE car.

Cooling System:

Adequate engine cooling is essential to the reliable operation of our car in a wide range of environments. Over the years, we have obtained a significant amount of cooling system temperature data, and we believe that it is feasible for a smaller, lighter cooling system to be designed to meet our requirements. Such a system could be mounted above the engine at the rear of the car, facilitating the removal of the side pod, and a lighter, lower drag car.

CFD simulation of flow in radiator duct

Project Outline: -

Determine the required cooling capacity for our engine, and design an appropriate cooling system. Design ducting to optimise air flow through the cooling system, potentially with the use of CFD techniques.

This project will require collaboration with design members from the Aerodynamics, Chassis and Engine teams. 

Impact Attenuator:

The Impact Attenuator is a critical vehicle safety feature, consisting of a deformable, energy absorbing structure mounted on the front of the car. In the event of a collision, the Impact Attenuator must limit the deceleration of the car to a safe level. Our current Impact Attenuator uses a folded aluminium sheet construction, and is significantly heavier than other potential designs. For our 2016 car, a smaller, lighter Impact Attenuator needs to be designed, manufactured and tested. It is expected that materials evaluation and testing will be required as part of the project.

FSAE Thesis Topics 2016

LSDYNA simulation of kinetic energy being absorbed by our impact attenuator

Project Outline: -

Design and manufacture a new Impact Attenuator, compliant with all FSAE rules. Carry out performance testing of the Impact Attenuator, and show that the design is compliant with all FSAE rules. Work together with the Chassis and Aerodynamics design teams to implement the Impact Attenuator on our 2016 car. Completion of the Impact Attenuator Data (IAD) document for the FSAE competition.


The behaviour in which a vehicle decelerates contributes greatly to the dynamic of the vehicle, the driver’s confident and therefore its performance overall. The brake system is a critical topic to study in order to achieve a reliable and serviceable package that relay good feedback to the driver. Our own in-house brake dynamometer, used to provide data on disk and pad material, versus temperature and pressure

Project Outline: -

Study of the braking demand on a FSAE car during dynamic events. Study of the hardware specification of the current pedal box. Packaging of the rear inboard brake hardware. Experiment with different rotor and pad materials.

Rear Bulkhead:

Our FSAE car utilises a one-piece machined aluminium bulkhead at the rear of the chassis to accurately locate and mount 20+ critical suspension, drivetrain and chassis hard points. With the move to a smaller wheel package, revised suspension layout and inboard brakes, this packaging

FSAE Thesis Topics 2016 and optimisation exercise will challenge those who have an interest in solid modelling and finite element analysis.

Machined rear frame providing precise attachment points for engine and suspension mountings.

Project Outline: -

Review of existing design from our team as well as competitors worldwide. Design and manufacture of a rear bulkhead that meets all packaging demands and constraints.

Points Simulator:

The design decisions made for the FSAE competition are, like any real-world engineering projects, result driven. And the quantity that represent result in the FSAE competition is the points rewarded. A Points Simulator is a set of arithmetic that predicts the potential gain or loss of points in both static and dynamic events for certain design decisions based on the past results of all teams participated in the Australasia competition.

A Matlab program that uses a simple car model, to estimate the effect on the total point score, by the variations of individual car performance parameters

Project Outline: -

Research on all car specifications and results of all teams in recent FSAE-A competition. Review past Points Simulator from our team. Design and construct a Points Simulator in MATLAB with an instruction manual.

FSAE Thesis Topics 2016

Wireless Steering Wheel:

In-car driver feedback about lap times and vehicle information such as gear position and engine RPM, is of high importance and needs to be done without distracting the driver. The team has recently investigated incorporating displays and controls into the steering wheel, however further development is required. This project involves both Mechanical and Electrical design. Project Outline: -

Design and manufacture of Electronics required to display vehicle information to the driver, using a wireless data link. Work with Ergonomics and Steering design members to design and manufacture a steering wheel out of Carbon Fibre or similar materials.

Electronics and Data Acquisition:

The Electronics system consists of three main areas; Power Distribution to all Electronics on the car, Engine Management, and Data Acquisition. Power Distribution and Engine Management are critical to the functioning of the car, and involve the implementation of the team’s power distribution modules and ECUs via a single wiring loom. Data Acquisition is used by the team to obtain real time data from sensors on the car. This data is used for the purposes of design validation and car setup tuning. Design of the data acquisition system involves implementing a suite of sensors across the car, and the hardware required to support them, including a MoTec racing datalogger. Project Outline: -

Review of current Electronics system and developed hardware. Design of a new wiring loom for the 2016 FSAE car. Work together with design members from various fields to implement the required sensors and systems.

Research Topics: 

Aerodynamics Research:

Aerodynamics is the other area to have significant gain that the team has yet to fully exploit. The aerodynamics of a FSAE car is one of the more interesting subject in the race car engineering world in that it mainly concerns about downforce without worrying too much about drag due to the nature of the dynamic events. The aerodynamics devices of interest include: nosecone, front and rear wing, rear diffuser, and radiator sidepod. Computational analysis and real-life testing need to be conducted in order to validate design as well as rule compliance.

FSAE Thesis Topics 2016

Our 2013 car modified to carry a test aero package

Project Outline: -

Review relevant theses on previous bodywork and prototype wing package. Design and manufacture of aforementioned aerodynamics devices using computational fluid dynamic package. Real-life testing to validate CFD results. Preparation, realisation and documentation of required testing as per FSAE rule for wing section strength and front wing mount impact attenuation.

Sheet Wheel Centres:

Our FSAE car currently runs on a set of three-piece split wheels with machined aluminium wheel centres. They are sufficiently light and stiff but difficult and expensive to manufacture. One of the solution to this issue is to design and manufacture wheel centres out of aluminium sheet, which requires less costly raw material and do not require a CNC mill to produce.

Sheet aluminium wheel centres

Project Outline: -

Review previous attempt on sheet wheel centres. Preparation, realisation and documentation of required testing to validate new sheet wheel centre design and FEA results. Manufacture new sheet wheel centres.

Some possible research topics:    

Electric Hub Motors. Electrically actuated Four Wheel Steering. Electronic Clutch Control. Slip Angle Sensor:

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