The 2017 Aerodynamics packages have been completed and both cars are flying as of last weekend. The Aerodynamics Section worked extremely hard to meet an incredibly tough deadline with not one, but two packages in record time. M17-C will feature a full package with both front and rear wings, an undertray, a nosecone, bodywork, and a Drag Reduction System (DRS), while M17-E will compete with a nosecone and both front and rear wings at the Australasian competition in December. Thanks to the wonderful support we have at Monash University, the Aerodynamics team spent a week in the Monash University Wind Tunnel, collecting data to validate the design of the parts, and observing how each part dynamically impacts the vehicle’s interaction with incoming airflow.

The wind tunnel simulates driving at speed by generating airflow, providing valuable data regarding the aerodynamic efficiency of our parts. It also enables us to create the optimal setup for the design of the parts, and the value of any alterations that we can add to the existing package, maximising the number of points we score at competition.

Using ANSYS CFX, provided by our long-term partners at LEAP Australia, the Aerodynamics Section spends a large chunk of the design period performing Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analysis. After each CFD run, the software produces data which is then analysed before applying design changes to try and improve results on the next run. The team attempts to perform as many quality runs as possible to experiment with different design variables. These design changes are made in NX 10.0, Monash Motorsport’s primary CAD software generously sponsored by Platinum partner PhoenxPLM. Whilst maximising downforce is our primary goal, some other factors that contribute to the design of the parts are the rules set by FSAE (the governing body of the Formula Student competition), structure and failure modes, performance targets such as lift and drag coefficients, manufacturability of the part, cost, and how the individual parts integrate together. All of these factors are taken into careful consideration to produce the best performing and most reliable package possible.

Integration of the package is one of the most important aspects for the Aerodynamics Section. The front wing is not only important in generating downforce due to its proximity to the ground, but for redirecting airflow around the tires and into the bodywork. Aerodynamics is also responsible for cooling, meaning that manipulating the air is required to cool the engine via the radiator which sits inside the bodywork. Airflow inboard of the front tires is redirected through the undertray tunnels, which restricts the air to the centre section, decreasing the local air pressure, hence maximising downforce. The air being pulled from the side diffusers flows inside of the endplates beneath the rear wing mainplane. As the velocity of the stream is increased, the high pressure air above the rear wing mainplane will produce downforce. The aerodynamic parts work together as one long chain to ensure airflow remains attached and guided so each part can perform as intended.

Now that M17-C and M17-E have spread their wings, on-track validation will be the next big step for the Aerodynamics Section. Check out the video of M17’s first flight here.


– Anthony Ly (Aerodynamics)