Behind the wheel
With a trade background in Automotive Mechanics, Campbell Cain-Carney is now working towards a double degree in Science and Engineering while also taking on the role of Technical Director within the UTS Motorsports Electric team.
As a child, Campbell Cain-Carney spent hours doing experiments from Horrible Histories magazine. “They included everything from erupting volcanoes to growing your own bacteria and even your own lab coat. I’ve always been interested in trying to understand how things work,” recalls Campbell.
Originally from Bathurst NSW, Campbell left high school before his final year. “I felt my time would be better spent studying at home or working, so I enrolled in automotive mechanics at TAFE.” In 2015, once his apprenticeship was completed, Campbell turned his sights to university.
The lure of the big city, a keen interest in science and an alternative admission pathway led Campbell to UTS. By completing an aptitude assessment and applying through the University Admissions Centre (UAC) he was able to start studying a Bachelor of Science in Nanotechnology, and later a double degree, including mechatronic engineering.
“It proves you don’t need to complete Year 12 to get into the degree you want,” affirms Campbell.
Nor does your degree have to dictate which activities you get involved with on campus. In 2016, Campbell say his classmate Niels Verhaegh introduced him to the UTS Motorsports Electric Team, where he works alongside students from science, engineering, media and business.
The team designs and manufactures a single-seater, open-wheeled, formula-style race car. The students drive the car in a series of static and dynamic events at the Formula SAE Australasia competition – an international competition specifically for students.
The experience gained by going to comp, presenting the car and also seeing what other teams have done is invaluable. There’s nothing quite like it!
This year, the team - which was originally based in an old workshop under building 2 - moved into the university’s new ProtoSpace in building 7. And Campbell, who still has three years until he finishes his degree, has taken on the role of Technical Director. “I’m responsible for overseeing all mechanical systems of the car, including aerodynamics and cooling, chassis, driveline, ergonomics and vehicle dynamics,” explains Campbell.
Working in ProtoSpace allows the UTS Motorsports Electric Team to think creatively. “We’ve started using ProtoSpace to 3D print some of our more complex parts,” says Campbell. “This includes 3D printing parts like the steering wheel or seat, which are ergonomically designed for individual drivers.”
Right now, they’re preparing for December’s Formula SAE event in Victoria. “The goal for our design team is to win efficiency while remaining competitive overall,” says Campbell. Efficiency is just one of the categories competing teams are judged on. It’s calculated by measuring how much energy is expended by the vehicle in relation to the time it takes to complete a lap of the course.
Last year, the team achieved their goal in the competition by finishing 1st in efficiency and 2nd overall in the electric category.
“There’s a huge sigh of relief when the car crosses the line.” Campbell says, “It’s a big build up, a year-long project that sees thousands of work hours and $200,000 invested into the car.”
For Campbell, the late nights are well worth it. “The experience gained by going to comp, presenting the car and also seeing what other teams have done is invaluable. There’s nothing quite like it!”