Friday, 20 November 2009

Mach1 Team - F1 in Schools Regional Champions...

Our hearty congratulations to Mach1 Team from Lutterworth College, who at yesterday's regional finals qualified for the National F1 in Schools Championship final being held at Birmingham's NEC, during the Autosport International Show, in January 2010.

Mach1 celebrated a trio of trophies, taking overall victory in the Formula 1 class, as well as taking awards for the Fastest F1 car(1.289 seconds) and Best Engineered car.

Pictured below are Johnny, Elliot, our very own Chris in the middle, Alex & Ricky. Chris joined the talented quartet for race-day at the NEC, to offer whatever technical assistance & general encouragement he could (& to get to play with lots of cars...).

The cars, designed by students aged between 9-19 race along a 20 metre track, shown below, at speeds in excess of 60Kph...
Teams are judged on car speed, as well as supporting evidence of their design, verbal presentation and marketing display stand in ‘‘the pits”. The Mach1 team's pit was very impressive & made great use of all the materials they had gleaned from their sponsors, including SMB Bearings.
The victorious Mach1 can't rest easy though, as preparation must begin in earnest for the national finals, now only 8 weeks away.
We'll be working hard for the team too & are looking for ways to improve our bearing performance as much as possible to achieve an ultra free-running, high speed finish. We've already treated previous bearings with Diamond Nanolube & are now looking again at this option, compared to results achieved by coating bearings with a Molybdenum disulfide suspension. Both substances act as thousands of tiny particles, suspended in a carrier oil, coat the surfaces of the bearing & float between the metal parts of the bearing to keep surfaces apart (it will still work even if the carrier oil is gone):
  • preventing metal to metal contact
  • prolonging bearing life
  • reducing friction
  • preventing galling, gouging & scoring
  • preventing heat build-up
We're not sure ourselves yet whether there will be any advantage between the two different methods for this application, but we'll do our best to find out very soon.
We'll also be investigating the benefits provided by ceramic hybrid bearings (ceramic balls, metal cage, rings & shields). The speed increase for hybrid bearings is, on paper at least, approximately 30 percent with adequate lubrication. Hybrid bearings can also operate better with limited lubrication as the lower friction material generates less heat but running speed should be reduced.
A word or two of caution - ceramic hybrids have become something of a fashion "fad" in recent times, with many Chinese hybrids flooding the market. These bearings are often of a poor quality & do not deliver on a theoretical promise to reduce friction & increase speed. For Mach1, we'll be trying to deliver on the theoretical promise by sourcing Japanese ceramic balls for their bearings... watch this space ;0).

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