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Adhesive bonding contributes to Formula Student success

Adhesive bonding contributes to Formula Student success It's been another highly successful motorsport season for UH Racing based at the University of Hertfordshire. At the German heat of Formula Student 2013, the team finished in a very respectable 23rd position in a field of around 90 in the Class 1 category.  Indeed, it gave UH Racing the accolade of being the most successful UK Formula Student team of all time. It also picked up a fistful of prestigious awards, recognising excellence in individual aspects of this fiercely competitive, high performance engineering project.

Formula Student is Europe's most established educational motorsport competition and it is run by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Its aim is to inspire and develop enterprising and innovative young engineers and it draws interest from universities across the world. Teams are challenged to design and build a single-seat racing car to compete in static and dynamic events which demonstrate their understanding and test the performance of the vehicle.

As a Platinum Sponsor of UH Racing, Henkel is extremely proud of the team's continued success. The company has contributed financially to this team effort for many years but perhaps, more importantly, Henkel has also provided ongoing technical applications support. Henkel products are now widely used in the OEM production of vehicles and the motorsport industry and Formula 1 rely heavily on the Loctite brand. It is this expertise that the company is able to share with UH Racing. Henkel's involvement starts early in the race calendar with workshops to discuss the merits of adhesive bonding. The selection of these products in the design of a potential Formula Student winning vehicle can increase stiffness, seal seam joints, reduce the number of welds required and make it more corrosion resistant.

Joining disparate materials

Weight is, of course, another significant factor. Increasingly, light composites based on carbon or glass fibres are used and adhesives offer the unique benefit of being able to join disparate materials such as composites, metals and plastics to one another. The use of these composite materials contributes to a reduction in overall weight that governs acceleration speed and fuel use. And both aspects are put to the test in the acceleration, sprint and fuel efficiency tests that are part of the overall Formula Student events.

Having received expert instruction from Henkel on what's possible in design and performance terms with engineering adhesives, the University of Hertfordshire students are technically supported by Henkel throughout the research and development process. The young engineers are also able to specify Henkel adhesives and sealants for use in the construction and maintenance of their design. For 2013 more than 50 different Henkel formulations were used.  

During its 16 year life time, UH Racing has won countless awards. This year's car has again done the team proud. The combined results from both the UK and German heats of the Formula Student competition saw UH Racing take a highly creditable 10th place.
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