Topology optimization ever more accessible to racers

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Until recently, complex topological optimization of race car components was the preserve of large motorsport organizations with big development budgets. But the latest developments in CAD package capabilities – such as Solidworks and Fusion 360, which in the case of the latter, harnesses cloud-based computing power to perform the heavy lifting of simulation – mean even small outfits can realize its benefits.

In a recent case study, Solidworks highlighted the experiences of Brazilian stockcar team Giaffone Racing, which used topology optimization to reduce the weight yet increase the stiffness of various components, including its suspension uprights.

In a summary of the improvements it made, Adriano Schomer, an engineer at the team, stated that it had cut the development cycle of its suspension components by 60%: “The topology optimization tools are helping us to create lighter, stronger, and stiffer parts more quickly, without having to engage in trial-and-error design iterations.

“On the upright, we ran a topology study in partnership with Jose Pereiras, senior technical sales manager [for Solidworks]in Chile. The experience of Jose was essential to provide confidence and get faster results from the process.

“We first optimized for weight but found out that the design was not stiff enough. We then worked with the topology optimization profile to modify the design for strength and stiffness.”

In addition to the reduction in development time, the new parts were also around 60% lighter than those they replaced.

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