To ensure a race car's optimal performance on the track, design engineers must thoroughly test every element of their design—including suspension dynamics, steering behavior, and aerodynamic loading—under strict laboratory conditions.
Instron Structural Testing recently designed a sophisticated new multiaxis test fixture that applies dynamic loads to a race car. The mechanical design team, based in Germany, worked closely with the company's control system specialists in the UK. The fixture can be used in the lab to test the vehicle's response to different steering, braking, and accelerating scenarios, providing data that would be difficult to acquire on a test track.
Instron used Simulink® to develop the controller and Simscape Multibody™ to develop the mechanical part of the test fixture. "Being able to model and simulate the entire system with a representative race car was critical to the success of the project," says Dr. Andrew Plummer, manager of control and analysis at Instron.