KERS technology revealed

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jon Hilton of Flybrid, Adrian Moore of Xtrac and Dick Elsy of Torotrak with their compact flywheel and CVT variator for the KERSA British company has confirmed it is working with a top F1 team on the development of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System planned for 2009.

Torotrak is working with two other companies, Xtrac and Flybrid Systems, to supply several important technologies. These are Torotrak’s traction drive technology, a continuously variable transmissions (CVT) by Xtrac and Flybrid’s hybrid vehicle expertise. CVT was previously banned in Formula 1.

The picture shows Jon Hilton of Flybrid, Adrian Moore of Xtrac and Dick Elsy of Torotrak with their compact flywheel and CVT variator for the KERS.

Some teams are understood to be lobbying the FIA to delay the introduction of KERS to 2011.

The trio explained how the system works:

“The mechanical KERS system utilises flywheel technology developed by Flybrid Systems to recover and store a moving vehicle’s kinetic energy which is otherwise wasted when the vehicle is decelerated. The energy is received from the driveline through the Torotrak CVT, engineered and supplied by Xtrac, as the vehicle decelerates, and is subsequently released back into the driveline, again through the CVT, as the vehicle accelerates. The FIA has defined the amount of energy recovery for the 2009 season as 400kJ per lap giving the driver an extra 80hp over a period of 6.67 seconds.

“Compared to the alternative of electrical-battery systems, the mechanical KERS system provides a significantly more compact, efficient, lighter and environmentally-friendly solution.

“The components within each variator include an input disc and an opposing output disc. Each disc is formed so that the gap created between the discs is ‘doughnut’ shaped; that is, the toroidal surfaces on each disc form the toroidal cavity.

“Two or three rollers are located inside each toroidal cavity and are positioned so that the outer edge of each roller is in contact with the toroidal surfaces of the input disc and output disc.

“As the input disc rotates, power is transferred via the rollers to the output disc, which rotates in the opposite direction to the input disc.

“The angle of the roller determines the ratio of the Variator and therefore a change in the angle of the roller results in a change in the ratio. So, with the roller at a small radius (near the centre) on the input disc and at a large radius (near the edge) on the output disc the Variator produces a ‘low’ ratio. Moving the roller across the discs to a large radius at the input disc and corresponding low radius at the output produces the ‘high’ ratio and provides the full ratio sweep in a smooth, continuous manner.

“The transfer of power through the contacting surfaces of the discs and rollers takes place via a microscopic film of specially developed long-molecule traction fluid. This fluid separates the rolling surfaces of the discs and rollers at their contact points.

“The input and output discs are clamped together within each variator unit. The traction fluid in the contact points between the discs and rollers become highly viscous under this clamping pressure, increasing its ‘stickiness’ and creating an efficient mechanism for transferring power between the rotating discs and rollers.”

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