3D-printed intake duct helps to break motorsport land speed record

CRP USA is among the key players that are involved in futuristic technology in the motorsport sector.

The Bonneville Salt Flats is a unique racing venue on the vast expanse of salt east of the town of Wendover, UT. For more than 100 years, Bonneville has created a competitive spirit that has attracted racers from the likes of Mickey Thompson, Bobby Issac (of NASCAR fame), and Valerie Thompson (the fastest female motorcycle racer), and has challenged racers to test the limits of speed.

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CRP USA (Mooresville, NC) is among the key players that are involved in futuristic technology in the motorsport sector. By means of Windform materials, 3D printing is taken to the next level. CRP USA had built via additive manufacturing the 3D-printed Windform SP National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) duct for Victory Motorsports (Dale, WI). The intake duct was on the top of the Victory Motorsports team's Streamliner and represented an interesting mix of homemade and high-tech engineering. Burton Brown from the Victory Motorsports racing team broke a long-standing record at Bonneville run driving the Victory Motorsports’ streamliner with the Windform SP NACA duct on it.

This new intake duct was designed by David Woodruff from Design Dreams LLC (Cincinnati, OH). The NACA duct (also known as NACA scoop) is a common form of low-drag intake design and when properly implemented, it allows fluid to be drawn into an internal duct, often for cooling purposes, with a minimal disturbance to the flow.

A few days before they left for Bonneville, Burton and the team were struggling with the duct--the nearly 28-in.-long intake duct had a complex shape, and there was no time to attempt a traditional mold. Burton asked if CRP USA could help them with that challenge.

Being familiar with motorsport racing NACA ducts, the CRP USA team knew the work involved to make the surfaces smooth, required for optimum flow. They reviewed the part and accepted to build it using laser sintering technology and Windform SP material, chosen for its mechanical features, excellent thermal properties, resistance to high temperatures, vibration, and stability to ultraviolet radiation.

"This NACA duct design is unusual, as it has an exterior raised around the perimeter of the duct and internal 'bump,'" says Stewart Davis of CRP USA. "At high speeds the raised exterior ring 'pulls' air into the duct. At the base of the inlet to the turbo charger, there is a round, sphere-like 'bump' that helps direct the air flow and reduce turbulence. We had to build it in three sections, but our finishing team was able to apply their knowledge and skill to give an expert polish."

CRP USA manufactured the part in a couple of days, and the part was able to withstand the speed, the rough track, and vibrations, Burton says. "It is a very light, strong material that can also take the extreme heat generated in the very tightly fitted engine cover and body," he adds.

For more information, please visit www.crp-usa.net.

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