This is the second in a series of blog posts where we will provide updates towards the UC Davis Formula Racing Team’s progress. This post highlights the progress and achievements of Ryan Chu and Quinn Davies’ Composites Sub Team. All information was gathered in a first-hand interview.
New Year, New Methods
Before this year, the Composites Sub Team had been
implementing methods that produced results but weren’t the best. This year, the
focus of the Sub Team is not only to make composites parts for the new racecar,
but to learn and perfect better methods and processes.
For instance, the Composites Sub Team is focused on learning and solidifying vacuum infusion. This is a technique that uses vacuum pressure to force resin into a laminate after dry reinforcement is laid into the mold.
Goals and Aspirations
The goals of the Composites Sub Team this year include the
Replacing fiberglass parts with carbon fiber.
Make more composites parts than last year (last year was only the nosecone, seat, and headrest).
Learning and mastering new composites manufacturing techniques.
Building a composites oven to utilize pre-impregnated materials, or prepregs.
The aspirations of the Composites Sub Team throughout the
next few years include the following:
Manufacturing an aerodynamics package.
Manufacturing most of the frame with lightweight
composite materials rather than using steel tubes (the weight difference
between steel frames and a carbon fiber monocoque are significant).
Sponsorships for the Composites Sub Team have been great
this year. All the sponsors are supporting the overall goal of perfecting our
composites methods. Manufacturing sponsors like Rocket Composites have been
providing training and assistance with physical manufacturing to allow us to improve
our methods with composites. Material
sponsors like Resin Research, Airtech, Insulfoam, and Consolidated Aircraft
Coatings have been providing the material that makes everything possible.