Engineering students rev up for Formula One challenge
A talented team of University of Sheffield students swapped the lecture theatre for the race track last week (13-17 July 2011) when they built their own racing car, before taking it for a spin at Silverstone.
Using just over £8,000 in donations from sponsors Staff UK Ltd, UKP Training, as well as the Alumni and Wilson Memorial Foundations and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, 25 students from across the University's Faculty of Engineering managed to engineer and manufacture their own, home-made racing car.
The team used steel to manufacture the chassis and aluminium to reduce weight on other sections of the car. Other parts were then bought in to create the car, which took them just over five weeks to make.
The unusual challenge formed part of the 2011 Formula Student event, an annual engineering competition held in the UK and run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The competition sees student teams from around the world design, build, test and race a small-scale Formula style racing car, in a bid to encourage them to utilise their engineering skills and teach them about team working and coping under pressure.
The University of Sheffield team pooled their engineering expertise to create, compared to their entry last year, a vastly improved car which was commended at the competition by the design judges. This lighter-weight car was designed with attention to detail and shaped to look like a shark.
Once their racing masterpiece entitled the Sheffield Shark was complete, the students put their motor to the test by racing around the track at Silverstone, alongside a fleet of mechanically and electrically driven cars designed and built from scratch by students across the world especially for the competition.
The cars, which needed to be low in cost, easy to maintain and reliable, were judged on a number of criteria, including their performance in terms of acceleration, braking and handling qualities. The University of Sheffield's speedy motor managed to come in 38th out of 79 cars racing.
Team leader Marissa Bole, a student from the University of Sheffield's Department Of Mechanical Engineering, said: "Formula Student is a fantastic competition that teaches students so much about the practical application of engineering. The team this year have worked extremely hard which is reflected in the twenty-four place jump in the overall results compared to last year, despite not competing in the dynamic events. The team have the ability to finish in the Top 20 at the competition and Top 10 in the UK teams next year if they can just improve the build quality and reliability of the engine which will be this year's focus. It's a fantastic achievement for a team only going into their third year!"
Notes for Editors: The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield is one of the largest in the UK. Its seven departments include over 3,000 students and 800 staff and have research-related income worth more than £40M per annum from government, industry and charity sources. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirmed that two thirds of the research carried out was either Internationally Excellent or Internationally Leading. The latest National Student Survey (NSS) shows our students to be some of the most satisfied in the country with 93 per cent of students satisfied and 91 per cent of graduates securing high level employment or further study places.
The Faculty of Engineering has a long tradition of working with industry including Rolls-Royce, Network Rail and Siemens. Its industrial successes are exemplified by the award-winning Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the new £25 million Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC). To find out more, visit the link below.
To find out more about Formula Student, visit the link below.
The Sheffield Formula team are looking for potential sponsors. Anyone who would like to sponsor them should contact next year's Team Leader David Rhys on email@example.com. If you are interested in knowing more about the team please visit the team's Facebook and Twitter pages (SheffieldFormulaRacing).
For further information please contact: Shemina Davis, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2225339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org