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For years the Chinese universities have held a formula race car competition. This competition has helped speed the adoption of 3D printed parts. CRT team in Changsha University of Technology had a design challenge to create a new air intake system. This system would need to improve on performance and reduce weight of the race car. Through extensive use of Farsoon Technologies printers the CRT team created dozens of plastic and metal parts that significantly reduce the overall weight of the car while increasing performance.

How important is the engine intake system for a car?
Internal combustion engines require a good mixture of air and fuel to function properly, the better the mixing of air and fuel, the better the overall performance will be.  By using analytic software designers can test and modify the design of the air intake to increase the performance of the engine.  By coupling the use of analytic software and 3D printing the performance of the engine, designers and engineers can maximize performance for racing engines.

As a full-time sponsor of the CRT team in Changsha University of Technology, Farsoon, an industrial-grade 3D printing systems manufacturer, offers a full-featured 3D printing solution for the "2017 Formula FNX-17", a newly designed racing system. A series of simulations were completed to ensure optimum intake system flow uniformity compared with the previous two racing air intake systems, this design has superior performance and provides more power to the race car.

Goals of the redesign were to maximize the intake manifold for performance and weight. The CRT team achieved the total export volume of nearly 12.5% which provided more power to the car. Additionally, by using 3d printed aluminum alloy parts, reduced the weight by 53.12%.

Simulation test: 3D printing to maximize the potential of the intake system

The 3D design of the intake manifold design is different from the traditional processing technology design ideas.  Compared to 2017 version the 2015 and 2016 versions of the intake system focused mainly on the inlet and pressure chamber shape.  The 2017 optimized design reduces the diffusion cone angle of the restrictor valve, expands the volume of the regulator chamber, and lengthens the length of the intake manifold.

The gas flow characteristics were simulated by computer simulation. The fluctuation effect and energy loss of the airflow and the air movement in the cylinder of the gasoline engine were studied. Under the same conditions of intake manifold size and machining accuracy, intake manifolds based on 3D printing technology allow designers to maximize the potential of the intake system without being subject to traditional processing techniques.

2015, 2016 version of the college students formula air intake system inlet and pressure chamber shape design goal is to make equalize the gas air/gas mixture to the four-cylinder engine as much as possible. After optimization analysis, the flow difference between the various cylinders is controlled within 5%, to ensure the uniformity of the intake air to prevent the phenomenon between the cylinder between known as the grab phenomenon, calculated by ANSYS CFX, the design of the four exports to achieve the maximum total flow : 0.12 kg / s.

2015, 2016 version of the car intake system main part (left) and 2017 version of the car into the main body part (right) finite element grid division comparison


2017 version of college students formula air intake system main body design, the introduction of the new GT-POWER (engine work process simulation software) on the engine system for one-dimensional simulation, to ensure a certain intake system flow uniformity, as far as possible To improve the engine's inflation factor, and ultimately determine the regulator chamber volume of 4.9L.


At the same time, the engineers use the intake fluctuation effect formula to calculate the basic length of the four intake manifolds, and use the ANSYS CFX (multi-function finite element simulation analysis platform) flow as the standard to further optimize the length of the intake manifold, and finally determine its length For 310mm.

By comparing the finite element analysis results of the main part of the intake air body, it is found that the total volume of the inlet of the 2017 version of the car reaches 0.135kg / s, which is nearly 12.5% higher than that of the old air intake system. Theoretically, Maybe.


Optimized design: 3D printing fuel injection bearing weight loss 58.12%

The design of the support structure and the wall thickness was modified to be made using metal 3D printing where strength can be retained and the weight reduced from the original 948g reduced to 397g, a weight loss of 58.12%.

Bench test: 3D printing intake system can be more powerful

In order to accurately test the new design of the intake system, Changsha University of Technology racing team conducted a series of bench test.

The load characteristic curves at different speeds show that the optimized and lightweight design of the 3D printing intake system is still able to ensure the stability of the engine performance.

Through the old and new bench test power and torque comparison data, we can see that the 2017 version of the car intake system component creates more peak power than the old version of the car intake system.  Proving that the new design of the intake system provides better intake better performance and increased power.


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