Microlease backs University of Bath motorsport team

22 February 2017

Microlease provided advanced instrumentation and technical assistance to the Team Bath Racing Electric (TBRe) project.

Held at Silverstone each summer, Formula Student (which is 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 10 master’s students and 30 third year students from the University of Bath. Each of them are responsible for different aspects of this project, thereby forming the basis for their respective degree theses. In addition, there are another 20-30 first and second year students involved.

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 item has also been employed for an investigation of potential energy scavenging sources in the brake callipers, and next there are intentions for it to be included in motor control testing procedures.

A 34972A data acquisition unit from Keysight (with built-in thermocouple junction reference) is likewise being utilised in this project, for vehicle diagnostic purposes. 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/powertrain is maintained. For the next stages of the project’s development Microlease will be providing a Keysight N6705B DC power analyser, along with associated software.

This will enable comprehensive studying of the DC loads that the vehicle has to deal with during races, so that full optimisation of the battery resource can be achieved. The team are currently completing sub-system testing. They will be starting on system level testing and rolling road tests this spring, ahead of race day which takes place in July.

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