Microlease backs Bath Formula Student team

Microlease has supplied the University of Bath with test equipment to support its Formula Student 2017 team

Test equipment rental company Microlease has provided advanced instrumentation and technical assistance to the Team Bath Racing Electric (TBRe) project as they prepare for Formula Student 2017.

Held at Silverstone each summer, this event – staged in partnership with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers – looks to inspire the engineering professionals of the future by setting them the challenge of designing and developing their own race cars then competing against each other. It has 130 different universities from over 30 countries participating every year, featuring both electrically powered and petrol-driven race categories.

The TBRe team comprises ten master’s students and thirty third-year students from the University of Bath in the UK. Each is responsible for different aspects of the project, thereby forming the basis for their respective degree theses. In addition, there are another twenty to thirty first and second year students involved.

“This event is a unique opportunity for university undergraduates to gain real hands-on experience of taking an engineering project all the way from the drawing board right through to completion,” said Glenn Howard, field sales engineer at Microlease. “By collaborating with TBRe on their Formula Student electric car, we are helping to nurture the next generation of engineers.”

To help them in this project, Microlease has supplied the team with various pieces of equipment. They have been using a Keysight U5857A thermal imager for monitoring the temperature levels around the exterior of the battery pack to identity hotspots. This has also been employed for an investigation of potential energy scavenging sources in the brake callipers, and there are plans for it to be included in motor control testing procedures.

A Keysight 34972A data acquisition unit with built-in thermocouple junction reference is being used for vehicle diagnostics. This incorporates a pair of 20-channel 34901A multiplexing modules plus the multi-faceted BenchVue software package.

Via the unit, data from a series of thermocouple-based sensors, located at different points throughout the battery pack, can be captured for subsequent analysis, so as to ensure that operational effectiveness of the vehicle’s battery and powertrain is maintained.

For the next stages of the project, Microlease will be providing a Keysight N6705B DC power analyser, along with associated software. This will enable studying of the DC loads the vehicle has to deal with during races, so optimisation of the battery resource can be achieved. The team are completing subsystem testing. They will be starting on system level testing and rolling road tests this spring, ahead of race day which takes place in July.

“Microlease’s contribution has proved to be invaluable to the team over the last eight months,” said Sean Thompson, a senior member of TBRe. “As well as the kit they have given us access to, there is also the on-going technical advice that has been provided. With their help, we have been able to make improvements to our design that have resulted in a clear competitive edge being derived.”



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