3D-printed oil pans improve race car results

The UVic Formula Motorsport team uses oil pans that are 3D-printed using the Windform SP composite material from CRP USA.

Oil Pan

The UVic Formula Motorsport team has been using oil pans that are 3D-printed using Windform TOP-LINE composite materials from CRP USA (Mooresville, NC), which were engineered to be manufactured using a laser sintering (a type of 3D printing) process. This worked “amazingly” on the 2016 and 2017 race car, as the 3D-printed oil pans allowed the UVic team to significantly lower the engine, therefore decreasing the vehicle's overall center of gravity and improving the performance of the car.

However, during a test day with their 2018 vehicle, the engine overheated, causing the oil temperature to increase beyond the limits of the designed pan. Post-race inspection showed that any thin-walled surfaces deformed quite significantly, meaning that the baffle walls of the pan were significantly warped and one of the sections of the mating flange had been pulled into the pan, creating a significant leak.  

The UVic team re-evaluated the Windform range of high-performance materials available from CRP USA for the 2019 vehicle, and chose to go with carbon-filled Windform SP composite material due to its higher melting point when compared to the Windform XT 2.0 material (FIGURE). By doing so, the team increased the thickness of the mating flange to allow for a large amount of surface area for an aluminum pressure flange. The changes resulted in a more-robust oil pan. 

For more information, please visit crp-usa.net and windform.com.

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