Formula Student

A case for EDAG

When, in late summer, the roar of engines can be heard at the Hockenheimring, it does not necessarily mean that the Formula 1 pilots are out in force. Once a year, the people who will later be building what excites millions of motor sports fans have the chance to take to the track themselves. Formula Student has been the international design competition for students since 2006. The aim is to design and construct a one-seater racing car within a year, and then compete in it against teams from all around the world in a 5-day event. The point of the competition is not, however, to find the fastest car, but the team with the best implementation in design, racing performance, financial planning and marketing - the competing students are expected to look at all facets of automotive development.

Besides aspects such as performance, handling and design, safety also plays a major role in the design of the competition entries. Due to the fact that these are often prototypes which will be competing against each other in hard-fought races, extensive crash testing and simulation must first be carried out. 

A central element of the design, and one which needs to be tested separately, is the so-called crash box, which provides the driver with the best protection possible in the event of a head-on crash. One of the basic Formula Student rules is that this part of the crumple zone must pass a separate function test - and computer simulation will not do here. When it comes down to it, the crash box must also withstand a real impact test. And the right experts and technical equipment are needed to carry it out to the best possible effect. A case for EDAG.

Part of the standard equipment of design engineers working on crash tests and simulation is the drop tower, a test stand that can be used to test various parts by dropping them from a height of 6 metres at drop speeds of up to 36 km/h, to reconstruct a crash under dynamic conditions. And this drop tower, which has been in operation for 15 years now, is no longer made available to only the major car manufacturers, but also to the young talent in the automotive world. Every year, to show our commitment to the Formula Student competition, we invite the teams from all around the world to register for the test series before the competition takes place, and have their crash boxes tested to ensure that they conform with the rules and are safe.

The special thing about this is the lively interaction that goes with it. When the prospective engineers have the assistance of both the equipment and the experts, the effort is doubly worthwhile. This year alone, 16 teams registered and made good use of EDAG's test equipment and the know-how of the development engineers. In the end, all the participants' crash boxes passed the preliminary tests - not least because it was possible to give the students useful tips on how to optimise their designs. And teams can register for the test series again next year.

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