In the summer semester of 2022, the "Melaten Grand Prix" took place for the second time as part of the Rubber Technology subject. The students competed against each other with remote-controlled cars equipped with self-developed tyres.
In four groups, they first created recipes for a tread compound under supervision and defined the respective mixing instructions. The mixtures were then produced on an internal mixer in the IKV technical centre and subjected to the typical test methods. In addition to the cross-linking properties and the compression set, the abrasion, which is extremely important for tyres, was also determined and included in the evaluation.
The compounds were extruded into strips on a 40 mm extruder. On the one hand, the processing properties were evaluated and, on the other hand, a suitable form was created for further processing. In the next step, the students wound the treads onto light alloy rims to simulate the tyre building process. For better bond strength, the rims were prepared beforehand with primer and adhesion promoter. The final shaping and vulcanisation took place on an injection moulding machine using the press method.
On the last date of the lecture and exercise series in the summer semester, the groups then competed against each other in the "Grand Prix of Melaten". On the test track of the Institute for Motor Vehicles, tyre performance was tested and evaluated in four disciplines in perfect weather. Each participant set three times in the categories acceleration race, U-course, wet grip and circuit. Due to the steep learning curve in handling the remote-controlled cars, the best time per team was evaluated. In the end, the "Road Runner" team came out on top, especially due to its performance on the circuit, and took first place ahead of the “Hotwheelz”, “Very Good Year” and “Stein” teams.
"As in real motorsport, the implementation of the practice concept would not have been possible without generous sponsors: We would like to thank the Deutsche Kautschuk-Gesellschaft e. V. for its financial support in the purchase of the remote-controlled vehicles, the extrusion and pressing tools as well as the rims. We would like to thank ARLANXEO Deutschland GmbH for providing the rubber. Carbon black from Cabot GmbH was used. The plasticiser used was provided by the H&R Group. The cross-linking of the rubber compounds was carried out with cross-linking chemicals from LANXESS Deutschland GmbH/BU Rhein Chemie. The adhesion promoter was provided to the IKV by HUEHOCO GmbH. The pressing process was carried out on an injection moulding machine provided by LWB Steinl GmbH & CO. KG. The "Grand Prix of Melaten" took place on the test track of the Institute for Motor Vehicles (ika) of RWTH Aachen University. Our thanks go to all the partners mentioned."
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