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Structural Optimisation of Ford Upright

The Problem

Ford Performance Vehicles wanted to increase the stiffness and strength of the uprights used in their V8 race cars, in order to improve vehicle performance and handling during cornering, and also to minimise the likelyhood of failure in the event of a crash. The challenge for Absolute 3D was to improve upon these properties without increasing the weight of the component.

Ford V8 Race Car

Ford V8 Upright Original Model

The Solution

We used Inspire, a topology optimization software package, to formulate the optimal design. First, we de-featured the original model to determine the maximum volume that the upright can consume. Next, we entered the constraints and load cases before running a simulation. Under the simulation, Inspire designs and tests millions of iterations in a matter of minutes to determine the most effective design.  Finally, we built a CAD model based on this optimized design and ran FEA simulations on the design to assess the strength and stiffness of the component.

Topologically optimized design

 

New design based on simulation

 

The Result

Our FEA simulations proved that the new design was stiffer and stronger than the original, while also reducing weight. Our approach evaluated the optimum design quickly, efficiently and objectively.

This compares favourably to the traditional redesign method whereby an engineer will design the part using his own intuition, and then test that design via simulation or prototype. This traditional approach is inefficient, as it usually involves many iterations, and the results can be adversely affected by the engineer’s personal bias and objectives.

Structural Analysis