'Ansys' FEA supports Penske IndyCar programme

Canadian CFD software specialist Ansys CFX in Waterloo, ON, has published a case study describing the use of its FEA software by Penske Cars in Poole, UK. Penske uses the tool on HP C3700 computer hardware with its primary design software, 'Pro/Engineer', to support the US-based Penske Racing team's IndyCar Series programme with constant component development for its Dallara-Toyota racecars

'Ansys' FEA supports Penske IndyCar programme

"The IRL is a technology-restricted formula", said Penske design engineer Chris Kirk. "We have to work within very tight criteria and we're limited in what we can change. The cars have to use chassis from one of three manufacturers, for example, and the same gearbox, so major alterations are impossible. An added complication is the time factor, because there's only a five-month 'window' between seasons which run from early March to September. But the car must arrive at the first race tested and ready to win."

The 'Ansys' FEA tool allows Penske's engineers to use basic analysis capabilities during the design phase of component development. Kirk continued: "We built an 'Ansys' model of a suspension upright, using solid and shell elements, and the testing highlighted an area of the upright that was overflexing. We were then able to redesign the upright which, when it was retested, was 25 percent stiffer for the same weight. This dramatically improves the feedback that the driver gets from the steering wheel and provides the information to help him drive more effectively."

Penske also uses 'Ansys' for composite analysis, in view of the increased amount of data involved in the ply lay-ups, relative to homogeneous material models. Its engineers use the FEA tool to check the validity of composite material modeling, and to evaluate the results through the composite lay-up that are of importance. Kirk: "The way we lay-up composites can be a powerful means of effecting performance and we find that 'Ansys' handles them all in a very user-friendly way. Using 'IGES', we can transfer the data between 'Ansys' and 'Pro/Engineer' faultlessly."

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