DUNA USA's CORAFOAM® Helps RIT Students Complete Redesign of Formula SAE Race Car

DUNA-USA provided support for the Rochester Institute of Technology’s FSAE race car, in the form of donated CORAFOAM® tooling board this year. FSAE is a student design competition created in 1978 and consists of student teams designing and producing race-ready Formula style race cars. At the end of the months-long design and development process, students compete in a race event where they are judged based on various measure of performance such as acceleration, skid pad, autocross, and endurance, as well as non-performance related categories such as presentation, projected cost, design, and efficiency.

RIT’s FSAE team decided to do a complete redesign of their car this year, calling for many new parts to be designed and built. The donated CORAFOAM® was CNC machined into molds used to create many of these new components of the car: the chassis, ergonomic seat, and almost all molds required for their aerodynamics package.

According to Austin Bruce, Chassis Engineering Manager “We had used tooling board in the past from various suppliers, and we found that we were able to use a lower density with the CORAFOAM and still achieve a nice finish. It was also nice because the lower density made transportation easier.”

Because some of the molds would require curing in an oven, and others would be cured at room temperature, the students bonded the material together using a high-temp aluminized epoxy designed for thermal resistance. For applications requiring oven curing at 180°F – 200°F, a polyvinyl ester tooling gel coat was used. If it was designed to be a room temperature cure, an epoxy primer and base clear coat system with polyurethanes was used for room temperature service.

Out of 115 teams competing at the massive Formula SAE race held in Michigan this past May at the Michigan International Speedway, RIT, finished in a respectable 36th place overall. Student scores are based on a total accumulation of points from 8 different categories: projected cost, presentation, design, acceleration, skid pad, autocross, endurance and efficiency.

Next year, RIT students won’t face the daunting task of a complete redesign, and can focus on streamlining aspects of the car and supply logistics. For additional information about the RIT FSAE team, please visit: http://www.rit.edu/kgcoe/formula/.

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