Design Engineering

ANSYS accelerates Canadian students to finish line


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ANSYS Inc. announced that the University of Waterloo Formula Motorsports team leveraged software from ANSYS in developing an innovative, award-winning air intake restrictor for a race car engine.

The student team (below) used a design of experiments procedure within ANSYS software ( to identify the best design candidates without building a prototype. The final result was improved air intake, enhanced overall engine performance and reduced exhaust emissions √¢‚Ǩ” along with a shortened development time and lower costs. For its efforts in developing the process, the Waterloo team received the Formula SAE CFdesign Computational Fluid Dynamics Award, which recognizes the best implementation of CFD as a design tool.

The Formula SAE competition, organized by the automotive engineering society SAE International, promotes careers and excellence in engineering to college students worldwide. Teams build scaled-down formula-style autocross vehicles throughout the school year and test them at annual competitions, which judge static (such as design and cost analysis) and dynamic (including acceleration and endurance) components. The University of Waterloo team ( hailing from one of Canada’s premier engineering schools, has participated in the FSAE competition for 21 consecutive years.

The competition rules limit engine power by requiring air for engine combustion to pass through a hole (or restrictor) of 20 millimeters. Optimizing the flow of air through the intake geometry is crucial in providing the desired engine performance. The University of Waterloo team saw the opportunity for innovation and set out to modify the wall geometry to maximize pressure recovery through the restrictor. Using software from ANSYS to perform a fluid dynamics study, the team developed a design that helped improve the overall performance of the engine by boosting the flow of air, therefore increasing combustion efficiency while reducing emissions. The final design, culled from a design of experiments process that automatically obtains solutions based on a range of input parameters, improved pressure recovery by 4 percent.


“Fluid flow simulation is a vital tool for engine system developers,” stated intake system designer Anish Ganesh, an engineering student at the University of Waterloo. ”Formula Motorsport teams do not have the time or resources to construct full-size prototypes restrictors, test them and make revisions to their designs. Other than performing expensive and time-consuming physical flow-bench tests, engineering simulation is the most useful tool for intake designers. The team’s partnership with ANSYS is invaluable in our quest to develop a winning car.”

ANSYS has partnered with FSAE by providing its engineering simulation software to students who participate in the competition. Currently, nearly 50 university teams use software from ANSYS to design their formula cars.


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