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Engineering Materials

Composites Lighten Solar Car

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ckit1477
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Iron
Re: 3 Wheelers versus a Car
ckit1477   5/15/2012 12:55:47 AM
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Experts do not anticipate the hybrid and EV section to develop considerably this year the mixture of gas costs below $4 a quart and higher advance costs for the vehicles is not gaining customers. But that is not stopping Toyota, Honda, Ford Motor  and several Western auto body parts carmakers from presenting new multiple and plug-in designs.

Jerry dycus
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Re: 3 Wheelers versus a Car
Jerry dycus   1/10/2012 12:24:30 PM
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   3wheelers can be a car, usually called a subcar. Technically in the US they are MC's.

   They need to have equal weight on each wheel to balance handling wise and to prevent rollover.  This looks like it's badly out of balance weight wise unless they use a large battery as the front bumper or easy to roll and very light front end that doesn't want to turn hard..

  I don't see 320lbs on a solar racing vehicle as all that light.  I have a 2 seat sportwagon all composite unibody stronger than a steel one that only weighs 235lbs with no carbon fiber or computers.  And using CF on this vehicle would only save 10lbs at best.  Now had they built the suspension from CF would have been smarter, saved more weight.

dlasell@thinkcompositesllc.com
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Iron
How many watts of solar panels
dlasell@thinkcompositesllc.com   8/23/2011 7:01:49 AM
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Design looks fantastic, reminds me of a Wind Cheatah.  But!  Where are the solar panels?  How many watts is the car carrying?  Most solar racers have minimal structure for passenger and batteries, but carry fairly significant areas of photovoltaics.  I only see a tiny little area rear of the driver.

I know that MIT Solar Race team once tried a similar tactic by stowing their flexible solar panels.  Your design doesn't appear to accommodate any storage.

Haley
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Iron
Re: 3 Wheelers versus a Car
Haley   8/15/2011 4:08:42 PM
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Rank Iron, look again at the wheel arrangement; 2 in the front, 1 in the rear.

prasadb1
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Iron
3 Wheelers versus a Car
prasadb1   8/11/2011 6:44:25 PM
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I agree sleek design. Looking at it, there is a wheel in the front and two in the rear. The design is more like a 3 wheelers (similar to scooter). Do you know what considerations drove the design to be a 3-wheelers type? Will this be able to support more than one passenger? I wonder?

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Love the photo gallery
Beth Stackpole   8/10/2011 7:42:57 AM
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Once again, thanks for clarifying. To your point about the team being 13 "young engineers": So you think they are more open to the role of analysis tools early on the design cycle and using simulation in general compared with more established engineers or more traditional engineering processes?

Woytek Bode
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Iron
Re: Love the photo gallery
Woytek Bode   8/10/2011 7:38:17 AM
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Many oranizations design and develop overdimensioned structures where the use of such software might be not useful yet. We are with thirteen students and only have one year to design and build a completely new solar car. I guess that because we are with so many young engineers, the design philosophy is very different to that of 'old fashioned' companies.

This alone would result in very different methods of designing and also building. But ofcourse also time forces us to finish the final designs quickly so the production process can be started.

The ANSYS package is also used for all structural aluminium and magnesium parts for the suspension. Furthermore, CFD calculations on the aerodynamics are also done in the same suite.

So in conclusion: yes we use these tools upfront in the design cycle. We first focussed on the materials allowing us to build light (TeXtreme, Rohacell foam, Turane resin) and did tests to ensure we enter the correct material data in ANSYS. This allowed us to set detailed demands on the structure and introduce complicated load cases. Also, the weight of the structure can be estimated to good accuracy and this helps us determine the optimum in problems like facing thickness vs. core thickness and solid (L-like) vs. sandwich stiffeners.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Love the photo gallery
Beth Stackpole   8/10/2011 7:14:47 AM
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@Woytek Bode: Thanks for elaborating on the role of simulation software. Many organizations using composites still don't tap into analysis software or do so late in the design cycle. Do you use the ANSYS tools upfront in the design cycle or later on in the process as more of a validation tool?

Woytek Bode
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Iron
Re: Love the photo gallery
Woytek Bode   8/10/2011 4:57:15 AM
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Beth, We do use analysis software for our calculations. Without it, we could have never designed such a lightweight structure. We use software from ANSYS called Composite PrepPost that is based on ANSYS mechanical. Basically we model the car with shells and apply composite material properties on the meshed elements.

Materials can be defined as plies and core materials, which are then stacked to simulate the sandwich construction.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Love the photo gallery
Beth Stackpole   8/8/2011 1:10:24 PM
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The slide show really provides a great look into what's involved in testing and building the composite structure. Great addition, Doug.

Any sense of whether the team is using any composite analysis software to help with the actual design of the carbon fiber sandwich or are they doing it as a hands-on process with manual calculations?

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