Adhesives, sealants and compounds help university win dynamic event at Formula Student race
The use of LOCTITE and TEROSON adhesives, sealants and retaining compounds have helped the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) to win the Dynamic Event at Formula Student 2021.
The event, held at Silverstone in July and organised by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), saw UCLAN triumph ahead of 35 other race teams from across the country. The university deployed LOCTITE products – supplied by sponsor Henkel – in various areas of its build programme, ensuring the car could withstand demanding acceleration, sprint, skid-pad and endurance disciplines, which form part of the overall Dynamic Event.
Known as the testing ground for the next generation of cutting-edge engineers, Formula Student invites student teams to design, build, test and race a small-scale formula-style racing car. Due to the pandemic, this year's event featured a reduced field and took place behind closed doors, but these restrictions made it no less demanding for the nine-strong team of second-year students from UCLAN.
Car rebuilt under tight time constraints
"Fortunately, the IMechE allowed teams to enter a previous car for a second time, which is what we did, as our updated car wasn't going to be ready in time, due to the impact of Covid," explains project head Dr Graham Calderbank, senior lecturer at UCLAN's School of Engineering. "In June, we therefore decided to rebuild our previous car, although that only gave us a few weeks to get prepared."
UCLAN has been entering Formula Student since 2004, but without major success. This year, however, things turned out differently.
"Although it was our previous car, we made a few improvements and they worked out in our favour, as we achieved our best-ever performance," says Calderbank. "We came 2nd in the Acceleration Event, 2nd in the Endurance Event, 8th in the Skid-pad Event and 10th in the Sprint Event. We therefore scored the most points across the Dynamic Events, picking up a prize at the awards ceremony. The team also won a prize for ‘Most Entertaining Driver' and the fastest hot lap in a bonus event."
UCLAN's car uses a steel space-frame chassis with carbon-panel bodywork, while the engine is a Yamaha R6 (four-cylinder, 600cc) served by a bespoke induction and exhaust system.
Low cost, yet nimble
"As part of the competition, we had to put forward a business case, so ours was very much about the provision of a relatively low-cost, yet nimble, race car. Key to minimising costs without compromising safety or performance was our use of LOCTITE products from Henkel. For instance, we used LOCTITE sealant to seal various panels and bodywork components. We also have some carbon fibre on the intake system, where we used the same product to ensure effective seals between the restrictor and plenum chamber."
UCLAN took advantage of many products from Henkel as part of its race car build, including LOCTITE EA 9497 epoxy adhesive, LOCTITE 518 gasket sealant, TEROSON PU 6700 multi-purpose bonder, LOCTITE Hysol H3101 methacrylate adhesive and LOCTITE SI 5075 emergency repair silicone sealing wrap.
"We also used LOCTITE 603 retaining compound for securing bearings into the milled bores of our wishbones," adds Calderbank. "In fact, we haven't changed those for over two years, despite lots of racing and testing, so it's obviously an effective product."
LOCTITE threadlockers are another widely used solution. Here, products such as LOCTITE 222, 242 and 270 low-, medium- and high-strength threadlocking adhesives more than proved their worth.
"Put it this way – nothing came loose, except for a couple of bolts that did not have any LOCTITE threadlocker, which tells its own story," he states.
Further LOCTITE products put to good use by the team of students included LOCTITE EA 9466 epoxy potting resin, LOCTITE LB 8201 multi-purpose lubricating oil and even LOCTITE SF 7850 natural hand cleaner, which Calderbank describes as "really effective".
UCLAN prides itself on providing students with exciting, hands-on experiences to develop the kind of practical engineering skills that attract employers. Students also have the opportunity to work with commercial partners at UCLAN's world-class £35 million Engineering Innovation Centre, while close links with industrial partners – including Henkel – mean students learn current best practice.
Good support from Henkel
"We always get good support from Henkel," he adds. "For instance, we asked their advice on how best to bond inserts into our carbon tube wishbones and they duly provided support for our lab tests. We've also had a couple of presentations delivered by Henkel to our students on how LOCTITE benefits the wider automotive industry."
As for Formula Student 2022, the rules state that next year's car has to feature a "significant modification" of the chassis.
He concludes: "This year's event was a fantastic achievement for the students. It's the best overall placing we've had and something I imagine the students will remember for a long time. However, we already have plans in place for changes to the chassis, drivetrain and suspension, with a little help from LOCTITE products. So, who knows, maybe next year we'll do even better."