FRP Mold and Panel Manufacturing for FSAE Body Panel and Driver Seat 2015-01-0727
This paper aims at Fiber Reinforced Panel or FRP mold and panel manufacturing of body panel and driver seat for a Formula Society of Automotive Engineers or FSAE racecar. The competition involves designing a Formula 1 type car that lays the standards for a high performance-racing car . This calls for a high Power: Weight ratio. The rules of the competition ensure a mandatory use of an air restrictor with an engine of a maximum capacity of 600cc to reduce the power of the engines . Hence, to compensate for the loss of power the target now shifts to minimizing the car's weight without compromising the strength.
The body panel and driver's seat are two most valuable parts as the first adds elegance and aerodynamics to the car while the latter makes it comfortable for the driver to drive the car under high lateral load shifts. Weight reduction in this area is easier as strength is not the dominating factor. It is preferred because of its low cost, good strength, flexibility and elegance after finishing.
To make the fiberglass product of a particular shape, a mold of the same shape is needed. For a smooth outer surface of the product, as in the case of the car body panel, an inside-out or negative mold needs to be made. The mold can be constructed by many ways ranging from using chicken wires and clay to using the MDF (medium density fiberboard), to achieve more accuracy and a smoother surface to obtain a better product.