Design of an Automatic Drag Reduction System Focusing on Cooling for Formula SAE Vehicle 2016-36-0511
The drag reduction system, commonly used in Formula 1, has as task to reduce the drag force that acts in the vehicle’s airfoils, increasing considerably its speed. When it comes to Formula SAE competition, since the speeds are lower than in F1, the purpose of the DRS can easily become the cooling, despite its name. This paper comes to the development of a drag reduction system applied to the frontal wing whose major objective is to increase the mass flow rate of air through the radiator. Based on a preliminary work supported by computational fluid dynamics, a frontal wing DRS can increase the mass flow rate in approximately 65% at an average velocity of 12 meters per second, which allows the team to use a smaller and lightweight radiator. The challenge was to design a lightweight and reliable automatic system, since it cannot fail nor take away the driver’s attention. To avoid these problems, an electric circuit was developed to control the actuators using the throttle position sensor data and lateral acceleration from an accelerometer.