Today when we talk about IIT- B and its students, we all directly jump to the conclusion that it is the most prestigious college in India and every student there has the potential to make a mark in the world. With this said, the IIT-B racing team had to be one of the best in the country and currently are living up to their reputation. The IIT-B team is the first in India to use an electronic differential and also holds the highest rank in the Formula Student UK as an Indian team. So we know that the tech-heads in the team are one of the best and with that, they also have the want to push the limits to achieve more and more.
The teams participating in the Formula Student work on a tight budget and the team that has the lowest cost of production also gets a prize for the strategies used to keep the costs low. The teams try to build the best car within a specific budget, which leads to building their own components to minimize their expenditure. The IIT-B team has built a cross-flow heat exchanger and has used the Epsilon-NTU method to calculate the size of the radiator. The base expectation from the radiator is that it maximizes heat loss to maintain the required coolant temperature, which in turn will lead to a better performance from the engine. The required coolant temperature is mentioned in the technical manual of the electric motor that the team uses and they have to make sure that it does not rise above it.
The first step towards developing the radiator is to develop a mathematical model that estimates the cooling rate through the radiator that imbibes the physical parameters of the radiator core and properties of the coolant fluid. Once the framework of the radiator is finalized, the team simulates the coolant flow inside it using ANSYS fluent to see how much flow is varying across each tube. This simulation makes sure that there is a proper flow inside each and every coolant tube of the radiator. The radiator that has been developed by the IIT-B team has the following dimensions, 260x170x45 cubic millimeter. And with the current radiator design, the team has achieved 2000+ watts of heat rejection when the car is moving at a speed of 36 km/h.
Using the Ansys fluent, the team develops a porous zone model which leads to the final design of the radiator as the radiator needs to be a porous zone while designing the side-pod and other aerodynamics. The team also uses a wind tunnel to develop the porous zone coefficients.
By fabricating their own radiator, the IIT-B team has opened a whole lot of avenues in terms of designing it according to the best-optimized parameters (core sizing, number of tubes etc.) for their car and also allows a free hand while designing its mounting and orientation. Yes, it is a cumbersome task to develop their own radiator, but they can tailor-make it according to their needs rather than spending time, energy and money to fit a third-party radiator in their car and tweaking the car with the radiator as a focal point.