This paper aims to present the design process, manufacturing and testing of a prototype of an axle carrier for Formula Student race car. The axle carrier is topologically optimized and additively manufactured using selective laser melting (SLM).
The shape of the axle carrier was created in three design stages using topology optimization and four additional design stages based on finite element calculations and experimental testing. Topology optimization was performed on the basis of relevant load cases. The sixth design stage was manufactured by SLM and then tested on a loading device together with photogrammetry measurement to obtain the real deformation. Measured deformations were compared with deformation calculated by the finite element method (FEM), verified and experiences used in the last design stage.
An additively manufactured axle carrier has a minimal safety factor of 1.2 according to experimental testing. The weight and maximal deformations are comparable with the milled part, although the material has about 50 per cent worse yield strength. The topologically optimized axle carrier proved big potential in the effective distribution of material and the improvement of toughness.
This paper helps the Formula Student team to enhance the driving performance while keeping low weight. It also improves further development and upgrading of the race car.
The whole design of the topologically optimized part was investigated – from estimation of the loads to experimental verification of FEM analysis on real part.
Vaverka, O., Koutny, D. and Palousek, D. (2019), "Topologically optimized axle carrier for Formula Student produced by selective laser melting", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 25 No. 9, pp. 1545-1551. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-07-2018-0171
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