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A proper Supercar racing trophy – scientists combine titanium, carbon fibre and art to create something special

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Posted March 25, 2018

People participate in various sporting events to test themselves. They want to prove that their hard work is worth something, that they are the best of the best and can compete on the highest level. If they don‘t succeed, they simply try next time. If they do – they get a trophy. Scientists from RMIT actually created a very impressive Larry Perkins trophy for V8 Supercars Melbourne 400.

The Larry Perkins trophy is made from 3D-printed titanium and carbon fibre. Image credit: RMIT

Larry Perkins is a real legend of car racing. He had a successful career in both Supercars and Formula 1, which is why the trophy of the V8 Supercars Melbourne 400 was named after him. Scientists from RMIT were tasked to create a special trophy, which was a bit of a challenge, involving specialists from different fields and both advanced and traditional techniques. It took a lot of work, but the result is worth it. The Larry Perkins trophy will bear the name of each year’s Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 winner and is shaped like an alloy wheel.

Creators of the Larry Perkins trophy say that it is not just an object – it is a representation of what can be done when scientists from different disciplines come together. Larry Perkins called the trophy a “remarkable creation” and was able to hold it with one hand, because it is incredibly light. RMIT engineers employed a number of different manufacturing techniques to create this trophy. At first the basic concept was created and a CAD model was developed. It had to be both artistic and technical. Most importantly, it had to represent the spirit of racing, which is evident in the materials chosen. The inner portion of the trophy is made from titanium, while the outer rim is made from carbon fibre – both common materials in automobile racing.

Titanium spokes in the middles of the trophy have many small holes in them. This effect would not be reached using conventional manufacturing techniques, which is why engineers used 3D printing. Forming carbon fibre is not an easy job either, as it required laying down several layers and then bonding and hardening them in a pressure oven. This really is a result of clash between art and science. Larry Perkins said: “It’s truly an honour to have the perpetual Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 trophy with my name on it, and it is made even greater now upon having seen the trophy”.

Not so long ago trophies were very simple and similar. It was just a shiny metal prize for winning the competition. But now people are making them all kinds of special and unique and this Larry Perkins trophy is just one of the examples.

 

Source: RMIT

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