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Do You Know an Aerodynamicist from an Aerodynamic Engineer?


As aerodynamics has change into crucially essential for achievement in motorsports, duties for aerodynamic improvement have change into more and more specialised, resulting in potential confusion concerning job titles and their related duties.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas System One Staff has offered some readability because of its engineering staffers, who’ve mentioned their jobs by means of social media.

That is significantly related to System 1 this 12 months due to the numerous guidelines adjustments which have scrambled groups’ understanding of their vehicles’ aerodynamics.

“The aerodynamic adjustments are so massive, they utterly affect the packaging of the automotive and the place you wish to put sure elements,” famous Mercedes-AMG F1 technical director Mike Elliot. “The way in which the aerodynamic surfaces are outlined within the rules can be utterly completely different: this 12 months you might be given a CAD floor and a tolerance to it.”

“Which means the designers should assume in another way and the method of creating positive the geometry is authorized is way more durable,” mentioned Elliot. “Previously, we had numerous little particulars on the automotive that added as much as fairly an enormous chunk of aerodynamic efficiency, however now, the part element isn’t anyplace close to as advanced. So, the positive aspects you’re making are in basic form adjustments and greater elements than earlier than.”

Picture courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas System OneMercedes F1 wind tunnel model.JPG

A Mercedes-AMG Petronas System One 60 % scale mannequin within the group’s wind tunnel.

Take into account the distinction between the work the group’s aerodynamicist performs when designing these elements with that of the aerodynamic engineer. “The aerodynamicist will develop aerodynamic ideas by creating floor fashions on CAD, meshing them and operating them in CFD,” defined aerodynamic design engineer Calum Armstrong in a Twitter thread on the topic. “Then, they do CFD post-processing and analyze the outcomes.”

One other specialization is the aerodynamic floor design engineer, who focuses solely on floor mannequin design. “These floor fashions give us a visible illustration of the automotive’s exterior however have zero thickness and 0 mass,” mentioned Armstrong. “So the aerodynamicists are offering us with the form of the bodywork, wings, ground, and so forth.”

That is when the aerodynamicist performs the essential CFD evaluation of those floor designs. “As soon as the aerodynamicist has analyzed the outcomes from CFD, they may determine whether or not or to not run the idea within the wind tunnel. Any ideas they select to run within the tunnel, get handed on to the aerodynamic design engineers.”

As an aerodynamic design engineer, now the design is in Armstrong’s arms. “It’s the Aerodynamic design engineer’s job to take the floor fashions and successfully flip them into strong fashions in CAD, that are then used to fabricate numerous elements,” he mentioned. “These elements are for the 60 % scale wind tunnel mannequin of the true F1 automotive.” Whereas F1 groups have full-scale transferring floor aircraft wind tunnels, current cost-saving measures prohibit them from constructing and testing fashions bigger than 60 % scale.

“We determine what supplies and what manufacturing processes we must always make every half from,” Armstrong continued. “We will use FEA to assist us determine which materials is required, or to make sure our designs give us the required energy, stiffness, deflection, and so forth.”

One other specialty is the aerodynamics efficiency engineer, who works with the ultimate product. “We’re accountable for analyzing the aerodynamic efficiency of the automotive on observe,” defined aerodynamic efficiency engineer Emma Corfield in a YouTube video posted by the group. “We additionally then correlate that again to the information within the wind tunnel and within the CFD simulations as effectively,” connecting to the early work by the opposite disciplines.

Aerodynamic efficiency engineers have two very completely different units of job duties: one throughout race weekends and the opposite again on the workplace the remainder of the time. “My foremost accountability is knowledge processing and knowledge high quality through the race weekend,” mentioned Corfield. “That helps convey efficiency to the group, making certain that the information the race engineers and the opposite engineers within the Race Help Room (nonetheless one other self-discipline!) are taking a look at is high-quality they usually can belief the evaluation that they’re doing. So, any setup adjustments they make they know are going to have the specified impact.”

Picture courtesy of Mercedes-AMG Petronas System OneMercedes F1 wind tunnel data.png

Aerodynamic efficiency engineer Emma Corfield research aerodynamic knowledge.

Races put stress on everybody on the group, not simply the drivers who we see within the cockpit, making an attempt to get probably the most out of the vehicles. The engineers are determined to assist them. “The race weekends are a really high-pressure state of affairs,” Corfield observes. “You could have a restricted period of time through the follow periods, and in addition between the follow periods, to look by means of all the knowledge, just remember to are understanding what the automotive is doing at the moment, and any adjustments that you just make, you wish to be assured that they will make the automotive sooner and never slower.”

Race weekends are the highest-profile a part of the job, however most of engineers’ time is spent again at headquarters. “In between race weekends, I’ve a barely completely different position,” Corfield defined. “I assist to place collectively a handbook for all the aero components on the automotive and that’s utilized by the race engineers and the mechanics through the race weekend.”

There are nonetheless many other forms of engineers who contribute to the race automotive’s design, building, and operation, however because of Mercedes-AMG F1 for the within have a look at the work performed by numerous components of the aerodynamic group.



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