Have you followed the Winter Olympic Games? Then you’ll know that the bobsled race on February 25 had two second-place winners: the German and the Korean team both crossed the finish line at the exact same time. The teams who took the fourth to twentieth places each finished within two seconds of each other. In other words, winning a bobsledding race is a matter of – you guessed it – seconds. That means it’s crucial to lower the drag coefficient if you want to win. And that is exactly what several bobsledding teams decided to do with the help of our software. Allow us to elaborate!

Automatic optimization: lowering the drag coefficient

At top speed, a bobsled can reach 150 kilometers per hour. The faster it goes, the more its drag, or air resistance, increases. Now, you want a bobsled to have a certain drag and lift, as optimizing speed, friction, and grip is essential. A simulation with the right software – in this case, SC/Tetra – offers an adequate solution. The software automatically calculates the most optimal shape of the bobsled, its wings, and the wings’ corners. Through this automatic optimization, you can lower the drag coefficient by 16%. Should either the German or Korean team have done this, they could have finished just a little earlier than their competitor, thus securing that much-coveted gold medal instead of the silver one.

Cradle bobsled

Bobsledding: dream, simulation, reality

What if you’re from an island that has never seen any frost, but you dream about bobsledding at the Olympics? In that case, optimizing your bobsled is an absolute necessity. And that is why the Jamaican bobsled team decided to use our software, SC/Tetra, to analyze the aerodynamic behavior of their bobsled and optimize it to perfection. Incidentally, it has not been the only bobsledding team to do this: the Japanese team, among others, preceded them. The question is: who will be next?

How about you? Do you have a spare bobsled in your backyard that you’d like to analyze and optimize? No problem. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Dr Michel Azoulay

Upon completion of his PhD in Dynamics and Computational Engineering in Loughborough University in the UK, Michel worked as a simulation engineer in the defense industry for several years.
His extensive consultancy work included multibody dynamics simulation, advanced nonlinear & multiphysics mechanical simulations for defense, aerospace, and transportation industries. Michel is also involved in presales, training, support, and consultancy using MSC Software products for In Summa Innovation customers.