MIT Solar Car Team Blog

Arcturus- MIT SEVT’s newest car!

It’s official, MIT SEVT’s newest car is named Acrturus! Named after the brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere, Arcturus will be travelling across the world with us this October to compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge!

Optical image of Arcturus; image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcturus

Arcturus can be located by following the arc of the handle of the big dipper; image source: http://burro.case.edu/Academics/Astr201/Summer/Summer.html

 

 

 

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MIT SEVT Officially Enters the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge!

MIT SEVT’s application to participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge this October has been accepted! The team is now working hard to complete the car and plan out the logistics of getting the team and the car to Darwin, Australia for the start of the race. The 3000 km race takes place from October 18th-October 25th across the entire Australia Outback.

Needless to say, we are very excited to be racing in the world’s most prestigious solar car race, and though we know we will face many challenges between here and the finish line, we’re excited to make it happen.

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Support MIT SEVT in the LITECAR Challenge

Check out our proposal to scale up the solar race car and help us out by voting!

The goal of the LITECAR challenge is to identify conceptual solutions that are beyond the state-of-the-art in the area of (but not limiting to) advanced materials, structural design, advanced manufacturing, and energy absorbing mechanisms to enable future lightweight and safe vehicles. LITECAR is not looking for incremental improvements but pioneering solutions to tackle this problem.

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Check us out in the Google Science Fair Video

The Google Science Fair is an annual online science competition sponsored by Google, Lego, Virgin Galactic, National Geographic and Scientific America. The competition is open to 13-18 year old students around the world who hypothesis, perform experiments and present their results. As engineers and scientists who do this regularly, the MIT solar car team was more than happy to help encourage and inspire students to explore STEM through the creation of this promotional video.

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Chassis

Due to WSC regulations, our new car must have 4 wheels and additional head space. These new design challenges were meet and optimized by Andrew Liotta our lead engineer who designed the chassis. Dillon McConnon, our system lead made sure the chassis integrated well with the other subsystems such as the aero shell and electrical boxes.

isometric view

solidworks rendering of the chassis design

With the design complete and tolerances adjusted, we have now begun the building process. Using 4130 steel tubes, cut and coped to fit at the correct angles the chassis is welded together. This is a challenging and precise endeavor as it is important to have a minimal gap between adjoining rods in order to make a strong weld.

setting up to weld

Priya (left) and Kathleen (right) set up the steel tube in preparation for welding

Once set up (with jigs to hold things in place) the tubes are welded together. In fabrication of the chassis, the preparation takes longer than the actual welding time. Below is a time lapse of one evening’s effort of welding done by Thomas Villalon.

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our newest silver sponsors

sunpower logo
SunPower Corporation designs and manufactures high-efficiency crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, roof tiles and solar panels based on a silicon all-back-contact solar cell invented at Stanford University. Sunpower has graciously agreed to sponsor by donating of a package of the Maxeon Gen II  solar cells and interconnects. These monocrystalline silicon solar cells are approximately 22% efficient and with Sunpwower’s all back contact and patented tin plated copper interconnect tabs we will be able to create custom modules for our solar array.

new solar cells what the front of a bare solar cell looks like interconnects
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hexcel logo

Hexcel is a materials company incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, that manufactures composite materials and structural parts. Hexcel has provided us sheets of Nomex honeycomb which we plan to use in both the top and bottom portions of the aerodynamic shell of our four wheeled vehicle sandwhiched between layers of carbon fiber.
nomex honeycomb


With these in-kind donations, both Sunpower and Hexcel will be considered silver level supporters of the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team and as such their logos will appear on the solar car, support vehicles, team apparel and website. Thank you!

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The Solar Car will be out and about in the Boston area this spring!

Keep an eye out for the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team in the next few months!

We’ll be at several events, including:

MIT xFair, February 2nd

Check out their website here: http://xfair.mit.edu/

Wellesley STEM Expo, March 28th

See here for more information: https://www.wellesleyeducationfoundation.org/events/science-technology-expo

WellesleyExpo

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Check us out in the MIT Alumni Association’s Slice of MIT blog!

http://slice.mit.edu/2014/09/03/valkyrie/

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Activities Midway

We brought Valkyrie to the MIT Activities Midway, the primary recruiting and publicity event for clubs at MIT. We had many interested freshmen sign up and are looking forward to having new members!

There will be more introductory meetings and publicity events in the upcoming weeks. If you get a chance, stop by our open house event at the Edgerton Center this Saturday at 3pm.

American Solar Challenge Blues

On Friday night, July 11th, the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team drove down to Austin, TX, to begin the scrutineering process for the up-and-coming American Solar Challenge. After passing all of the scrutineering events, we proceeded to compete in the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP), the track race that is the final qualifier for the American Solar Challenge. On the last day of FSGP, our car ran into difficulty and we unfortunately were not able to qualify for the American Solar Challenge.

We also would like to sincerely thank all of our sponsors for their continued support and mentorship. Without them, none of what we do would be possible.

With this race now behind us the team looks eagerly forward to FSGP 2015 – to improve upon the designs of this car and the cars that the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team has built before. We are also switching from the canonical 3-wheeled solar car design to a 4-wheeled design, which will bring challenges and opportunities for our design team.

Post written by Dillon McConnon

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