Body & Aero – The Surface Finish of the Team

Welcome to the first blog post from Body & Aerodynamics!

To fill everyone in with some background, I’m Harrison Kurtyka, a 3rd Year Mechanical Engineering student at Strathclyde and team leader for Body & Aerodynamics, where it is my aim to improve the accuracy of the bodywork and the surface finish of the carbon fibre. I joined the team last season, working on mainly the design of the bodywork and moulds for Clyde 2.0. I also was lucky enough to be one of the drivers for our team!

As a subteam, our task is to manufacture the vehicle bodywork, which is one of the most critical components of the car, it provides enclosure to smoothly cut through the air and it’s what the world sees as our team. Last year, we jumped head first into working with carbon fibre, and while I’m extremely proud of how it turned out (see our gallery for images!), there are many areas which could use some fixing. The big ones, surface finish and accuracy, have been our main work area so far. Aside from this, we also wanted to improve the aerodynamics of our vehicle by covering the wheels with fairings and raising the base of the chassis.

To rectify the manufacturing problems, we are producing female moulds that are being CNC machined to layup carbon fibre. This solves both of our key issues – firstly accuracy, the mould last year was hand shaped, resulting in loads shape inconsistencies when compared to our CAD model. By having it CNC machined, we reduce the error massively. Secondly, our mould for Clyde 2.0 was a male plug, meaning our surface finish on the carbon fibre wasn’t ideal – it took lots of sanding to get it to the current state, by using a female mould, the surface finish can be massively improved so long as the mould is nice and smooth.

We are now into the manufacturing phase as a sub-team, so our design is locked in, but next year we’ve got plans to improve the aerodynamics of our car by controlling the boundary layer. Additionally, we have been looking into incorporating recycled carbon fibre into our design to further reduction the carbon footprint of our vehicle.

It’s certainly going to be a large research task, but I think it’s important to set big goals to aim for! Hopefully, in the next Body & Aerodynamics blog post, we can show off some pictures of our carbon fibre and our moulds! Anyway, that’s all from me for now, gotta get back to work building the car! Check us out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for regular updates on the design and manufacture work that’s taking place right now.

USEV also has a website!