• PT Youtube
  • CW Facebook
  • CW Linkedin
  • CW Twitter
1/1/2011 | 1 MINUTE READ

Drag racing champ wins with composite rear wing

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

A composite rear wing assembly built by Aerodine Composites Group (Indianapolis, Ind.) was critical to 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series champion Larry Dixon’s effort at the wheel of the Al-Anabi Top Fuel dragster.

Share

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

An innovative composite rear wing assembly designed and manufactured by Aerodine Composites Group (Indianapolis, Ind.) was critical to 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series champion Larry Dixon’s effort at the wheel of the Al-Anabi Top Fuel dragster, as he achieved an unprecedented eight top qualifier spots and a 12-win racing season.
Aerodine used computational fluid dynamics throughout the wing’s design process to minimize drag while achieving required downforce, and employed a combination of advanced composite materials to manufacture  the structure.

By far the car’s most crucial aerodynamic element, the rear wing provides the massive downforce required to keep a top fuel dragster — the fastest-accelerating vehicle in the world — connected to the track. It demanded high strength to handle the aerodynamic forces exerted on it during a pass down the track, where speeds routinely exceed 320 mph in less than four seconds. The company also designed the wing to withstand extreme vibration loads and handling during the long race season.

A stringent lab test conducted by The SFI Foundation Inc. (Poway, Calif.), a nonprofit that issues and administers standards for specialty performance and racing equipment, applied nearly 8,000 lb/3630 kg of force to the wing in several iterations with a hydraulic ram. After multiple tests, permanent deformation of the wing surface was <0.030 inch, says Aerodine’s chief engineer Craig McCarthy, who reports that the company is working on a complementary front wing.

McCarthy says the wing laminate combines Toray Composites (America) Inc. (Tacoma, Wash.) T300 3K bidirectional prepreg fabric (with a proprietary resin), Toray T700 unidirectional tape, and Kevlar reinforcement from DuPont Protection Solutions (Wilmington, Del.).

Aerodine also builds most of the carbon fiber composite air injector “hats” for the sport’s 8,000-hp engines and parts for driver protection and other car body parts. 
“Aerodine Composites was an important asset to Al-Anabi Racing in our quest for the Top Fuel championship,” says  Al-Anabi team manager and crew chief Alan Johnson. “With no on-track testing, we were able to mount the rear wing and successfully run it in competition, which is a testament to their ability to get complex jobs done right the first time.”

RELATED CONTENT

  • Wet compression molding

    Old process updated and automated to offer lower cycle time and cost in BMW 7 Series plus potential for void-free, 65% fiber volume composite parts.

  • Recycled carbon fiber: Its time has come

    Impressive industry growth puts a new emphasis on the role of carbon fiber recycling.

  • Next-generation pressure vessels

    The first commercial tank in the elusive Type V category and a larger but lighter Type IV CNG tank presage new growth of filament winding in the storage of compressed gasses.


Resources