16 April 2006 15:09

Pat's Column - April

Category: Pat´s Corner
By: Pat Clarke

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the delay since my last column, but I have been really busy at my ‘real’ job. With Easter being here, I have time to sit down and write some more for you.

As you can imagine, I get requests for technical help from all over the world, and I am happy to respond. Lately I have been getting requests from teams in the Indian Sub-continent. Disappointingly, these questions have been far too general, usually asking for help designing some part of the car. The teams have done no design work and are asking for someone else to do it for them.

It is necessary for teams to take a look at their project and devise some solutions before asking for help. Formula Student is an engineering design competition, not a reverse engineering competition.

Thinking about the requests I get, perhaps a selection of typical recent questions might shed light on some subjects for all students (=> Advice/Pat´s Corner/FAQ):


This months Design Error

Well, not really an error in design, rather an error in project management.

This is the famous 2001 WWU 554cc V8. It used Kawasaki cylinder heads on a bespoke block with all internals and systems made by the team.



The engine drove through a carbon fibre cased gearbox housing Honda gears and selectors. The transmission was also designed and built by the students.

The engine made a mockery of the costing formula for engines and raised an enormous amount of interest at the event.

But it all fizzled out to naught. So much effort had gone into the power train that the chassis left much to be desired.

Then the engine could not be started at the event and so did not compete. Under the stresses placed on them by the project, the team had neglected to fit any form of starter!

Probably the best example in FSAE history of a team totally forgetting the intent of the competition, still, they will always be remembered for their achievement!

Until next time



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