National Physical Laboratory

Materials testing Formula 1 cars

NPL is working with motorsport's world governing body, the Féderation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), to test the stiffness of metal alloys in Formula One racing cars.

NPL's expertise in materials testing and measurement led to its selection to provide confidential and independent advice to the FIA. The laboratory designed a new method to reduce the uncertainty that has plagued the testing of metal stiffness. NPL's role included development of a methodology for testing metals' specific modulus, which is stiffness relative to density.

Racing stiffness

Accurate measurement is also supporting the development of new materials for F1. NPL's guidance to the racing world is enabling the fine-tuning of metal compositions for maximum performance benefits. It is helping teams to characterise advanced aluminium and titanium alloys to reduce component weight while maintaining stiffness and performance. NPL is talking to the FIA about other test requirements, such as fingerprinting the chemical composition of materials used in racing cars to compare and validate with those tested in the laboratory.

For further information contact Jerry Lord.

Find out more about NPL's research in Advanced Manufacturing and Advanced Materials.

Last Updated: 10 Jan 2013
Created: 12 Nov 2010