René Jansen, Regional Manager EDAX EMEA
It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon on June 21 and I am watching the Formula 1 race. One of the racers is Max Verstappen, 17 years old and he is Dutch. Max can compete with the best Formula 1 drivers in the world. Most Dutch boys of 17 years old do not have their driving license yet, but he is racing his Formula 1 car at more than 300 km/hour over the track.
I guess that most viewers of this race believe that the talent of the racer and the strategy of the team manager are key to winning a race. This is true, but then you forget an important winning factor. The design and materials used in the cars are also major factors in the determination of a winning car. The weight of the components and other properties of the materials used in a car translate the force of the engine into real speed. So, faster engines do not necessarily result in winners – the behavior of the car in the curves and the acceleration are key.
To be the winner in five years from now, research of the new materials and its properties is relevant. This is why car designers in the Formula 1 arena spend millions of dollars in the combination of design and new materials. Among other techniques, an Electron Microscope with Electron Back Scatter Detector (EBSD) technology can give important insight into the properties of materials by analyzing the crystal structures and composition of the comprising elements, which will then lead to conclusions as to how the materials will perform under challenging race conditions.
The race is over and Max finished in 8th place. He trusted the technology and materials to push the best out of his car. Let us hope that the Toro Rosso team spend their money in the right way to come up with a new car design with the best material properties in 2016. Max is a winner and eventually he will end up winning a race; with a little help of EBSD analysis capabilities.