3D Systems announced the availability of Accura Composite PIV – a new material specifically designed to address PIV testing applications used primarily in motorsports wind tunnel testing. Developed in collaboration with Alpine F1 Team (formerly Renault F1 Team), Accura Composite PIV can produce rigid parts in a high-contrast color optimized for PIV testing. Parts produced using this material take less time to prepare – from CAD to wind tunnel – and deliver more accurate, high-resolution data. When used as part of a complete 3D Systems additive manufacturing solution – comprising Accura Composite PIV, the company’s stereolithography (SLA) technology, software, and advanced application services – Alpine F1 Team has been able to maximize its wind tunnel investment and improve its understanding of the airflow over the car.
3D printing wind tunnel parts for aerodynamic testing is virtually a 24/7 operation as the racing team constantly works to unlock new levels of performance in the car. In particular, 3D Systems’ SLA technology has allowed Formula 1 companies to build rigid aerodynamic parts with high productivity and leverage innovations like integrated pressure tappings. These parts are used in testing that relies on a laser-based technology known as ‘particle image velocimetry’ or PIV. One challenge with taking reliable PIV measurements is the reflections of laser light from background surfaces other than the airborne particles, which reduces the image quality resulting in a loss of useful information. 3D Systems developed Accura Composite PIV – a new reflection mitigating SLA material – which Alpine F1 Team is using to print its wind tunnel model parts. Alpine F1 Team has demonstrated that the new SLA material is effective in reducing the laser reflection effect. The use of this system is helping their aerodynamicists gain a greater insight into the aerodynamic characteristics of the wind tunnel model, ultimately helping them deliver a faster racing car to the track.
The workflow to produce wind tunnel parts in other currently available materials often requires a multi-step process to achieve a suitable finish required for wind tunnel testing. The unique color of Accura Composite PIV provides the possibility to eliminate some of these steps and therefore compress the workflow for efficiency and throughput gains.
In addition to Accura Composite PIV’s unique color, the material has a high tensile and flex modulus, with a heat deflection temperature of 100° C, which helps it withstand the rigors of wind tunnel testing. This material is formulated for use with 3D Systems’ stereolithography 3D printing technology – including the company’s 3D Sprint software – that is designed for rapid production of large (up to 1500 mm in length), high-resolution parts. At the core of 3D Systems’ solutions is the expertise of its Application Innovation Group that is relied upon for engineering expertise to help F1 teams such as Alpine F1 Team refine their vehicle designs for faster time to – and on – the track.