The performance engineering sector of the UK has always been personified by the high performance technologies applied to Formula One motor racing where the structural performance of components is critical to racing success. TWI has been involved with supporting the materials validation, inspection and joining requirements for several race teams over the years.
One example where TWI has provided support is in the application of its advanced electron beam (EB) welding technologies. This particular example related to the fabrication of small pressure vessels manufactured from thin wall titanium. The EB process was used to weld two dome ends to these assemblies. The thin walls of the structure and the predicted in-service conditions meant that the highest degree of quality and joint integrity was required.
Due to the range of specialised equipment and staff on hand, TWI was able to provide a specific technical solution for the fabrication of these critical components which were raced on Formula One cars during the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship.
The optimisation of joining and production processes are areas where TWI expertise has helped race teams gain competitive advantage through best use of a range of technologies.
TWI has recently worked on projects related to the following activities:
- Development of friction stir welded engine components and electron beam welded suspension parts for Grand Prix cars to be used in Formula 1 racing
- Safety improvements to rollover cages of rally cars
- Assembly of electronic circuits and packaging of electronics for IndyCar Series and Indy Racing League (IRL)
- Development of friction stir welding procedures for high performance aftermarket alloy wheels for car tuning specialists
- Finite element modelling of go-kart frames and high-performance engine components
- Development of joining and coating processes for racing bikes and motor bikes
- Consultancy on fuel tank encapsulation and space frame manufacture of GT and Le Mans cars
- Training and examination of manual TIG welding for producing manifolds and titanium exhausts for F1 cars
- Testing of composite floor panels
- Friction welding to shorten suspension struts, con rods and drive shafts for sports cars and motorcycles or to assemble them from dissimilar materials
- Development of sealing high-pressure fuel injection components for racing and aftermarket applications
- Consultancy on refurbishment of classic and historic race cars
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