Materials company Vacuumschmelze GmbH is participating in the Formula Student Electric event by supplying its advanced alloy VACODUR 49 for performance-optimized electric motors. In partnership with AMK in Kirchheim, VAC is supporting three teams in this year's competition.
Performance is a key requirement of electric motors and generators which are used in many applications, most importantly for electric vehicles, and is paramount in all sectors of motor sports: from KERS in Formula 1 to hybrid solutions in Le Mans cars. The main goals are to push performance and innovation to their limits, targets which have been publicly achieved on the race track in recent years. In precise terms, the aim is to achieve maximum performance at minimum weight, i.e. to optimize power density. Ultimately, the central technological requirements remain virtually identical, despite variations in the economic framework conditions. Innovative optimized drive technologies are the key pillars of eMobility.
The technological challenges of this new form of mobility are clearly demonstrated by the Formula Student championship, a competition in which teams of students from universities all over the world design and build single-seater racing cars and race them at iconic locations such as Silverstone and Hockenheim. However, the winner is not automatically the first to cross the finishing line in an individual race, but the team that accumulates the best overall scores for design and racing performance, based on both economic and environmental considerations.
A range of dynamic disciplines are designed to push the racing cars to their limits. They must compete in a variety of categories including Acceleration (maximum acceleration and speed in drag racing from a standing start), Skid Pan (maximum lateral acceleration on a circular skid pan) and Autocross & Endurance (maximum traction and agility on the circuit and endurance racing).
From its origins as a race for vehicles with combustion engines, Formula Student was expanded in 2010 to include vehicles with pure electric drives. The resultant rise in interest serves as a testament to the dynamic pace of development in eMobility itself; after only two years, Formula Student Electric now has 85 entrants from 25 countries. While the design and construction of the vehicles and the participation in the individual races are the work of dedicated interdisciplinary university teams, sponsors contribute the necessary funding and materials. Since the Formula Student Electric was founded, the drive and control unit manufacturer AMK has supported several teams by providing synchronous motors and motor control systems.
A high power-to-weight ratio and lots of torque are the keys to success, delivering the necessary traction control for drag racing and maximizing acceleration out of tight bends in circuit racing. Both the vehicle and its drive train must be designed for performance and lightness to combine straight line acceleration with agility.