Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Associate Professor David Holmes
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Engineering


Vehicles experience a wide range of dynamically changing forces throughout driving. Race cars, especially, undergo extremely large loads during a race, and accounting for those loads in the design and analysis of all components is critical. Specialised vehicle dynamics software is often used to model such forces, while Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a common approach to analyse components.

The ANSYS software package provides an additional Multibody Dynamics module that enables the combination of rigid and flexible parts to be modelled within a given transient scenario. By using such a tool, combined with real vehicle track data, it would be possible to analyse the multi-dimensional and fluctuating forces on vehicle components at a far higher degree of accuracy than with existing methods. Additional multi-dimensional fatigue analysis is also then possible.

This project aims to develop such a method and test the viability and accuracy of ANSYS Multibody Dynamics as a comprehensive vehicle dynamics simulation and design tool.

Research activities

The successful candidate will be working with QUT Motorsport and Dr David Holmes to build an ANSYS Multibody Dynamics model of a Formula SAE race car. Within that you will:

  • learn ANSYS Multibody Dynamics and the inclusion of flexible components within a dynamics simulation
  • build a simple car model within ANSYS Multibody Dynamics
  • implement read track data within the model to simulate a portion of a track run
  • analyse key suspension components within the model and compare the analysis and force results to existing analysis approaches
  • write up progress and regularly meet with your supervisors and team.


From this research we expect to have a working ANSYS Multibody Dynamics model of a race car as a proof of concept for this approach. Working with your supervisor, a new approach to analysing multi-dimensional fatigue within FEA is a broader intended outcome, and this work will help facilitate that. The development of the approach and testing there-of may also be appropriate for journal publication.

Skills and experience

Some basic experience with Solidworks and the ANSYS Finite Element package would be ideal, and an understanding of mechanics and fatigue analysis as it applies to mechanical design.



Contact the supervisor for more information.