Lightweight Composites Help Chalmers Uni to First Formula Student Win

18th July 2012

The 2012 Formula Student competition, which took place between 11th-15th of July at the Silverstone race circuit in the UK, has resulted in a victory for the Chalmers Formula Student team from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. The team made extensive use of lightweight composite materials to maximize their vehicles performance.

Formula Student is the world’s largest competition for engineers, and is described as:  “The competition challenges student engineers to design, build and race a single seat racing car in one year. The cars are then judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance in a series of time-trial races, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills”

Sweden based composite manufacturer, Oxeon, supported the Chalmers Formula student team and supplied them with their TeXtreme carbon reinforcement technology. TeXtreme fabrics have been successfully used in Formula 1 for many years to save weight and improve mechanical performance.



“We have used TeXtreme in basically all carbon composite parts on the car. The stiffness surpasses our demands which give an advantage regarding performance”, said Jens Kjellerup, member of the Chalmers Formula Student. “The benefits of TeXtreme is that it is light and strong, our composite parts weighs considerably less compared to using other carbon materials. During the competition the officials and judges estimated our wing package was 17kg, but they were wrong, it weighs only 10kg, thanks to TeXtreme.”

”Chalmers University’s car is a masterpiece of engineering that makes a worthy winner. As well as being one of the fastest cars, it also performed consistently and impressively in the static events.” Andrew Deakin, Formula Student Vice Chairman, comments.

Four of the top five teams in Formula Student 2012 are using TeXtreme as their principal composite reinforcement, leading to notable results. According to Oxeon, TeXtreme carbon fabrics reduce weight on composite parts by 20-30% compared to conventional fabrics. This is made possible due to Oxeon’s novel Spread Tow- and Tape Weaving Technologies; spreading yarns into thin tapes and weaving the tapes into a fabric. In any given area more fibers can be packed in tape form than in a yarn. A woven material comprising interlacing fibrous tapes, instead of yarns, displays a substantially reduced number of interstices/openings. This means that a tape woven structure presents less accumulation of matrix at the interstices and hence increased fiber volume fraction.