EXPLOITING THE FRACTURE PROPERTIES OF FIBRE REINFORCED COMPOSITES TO ENHANCE THE SURVIVABILITY OF FORMULA 1 RACING CARS

Savage G.M.        

Anales de la Mecánica de la Fractura, nº 18 . 2001 . Pág. -
Ver (.pdf): 8070IMP

Resumen: The changeover from aluminium alloy to carbon fibre chassis precipitated a degree of anxiety within Formula 1 with respect to the ability of such brittle materials to protect the driver in the event of a crash. The reality of the situation however was that composite racing cars afford vastly improved crashworthiness with compared to their metallic predecessors. Much of the sport’s improved safety record in recent years derives from the controlled fracture behaviour of composite materials. Research and understanding of the impact and fracture behaviour of these materials has enabled the designing of a sophisticated driver protection system into the vehicles’ structure at minimum weight penalty. The chassis itself has evolved into a “survival cell” capable tolerating damage from minor incidents and preventing intrusion of foreign objects, whilst at the same time being capable of protecting the driver in the event of a major impact. Coupled with this are specialised structural devices designed to absorb vast amounts of energy by controlled fracture and disintegration.

LocalizaciónBayona

Head of Composites Engineering. British American Racing.