Monday, December 3, 2012

ANSYS, molds, and CFRP

You've heard the plans from Julia: we race next in the 2014 American Solar Challenge and shortly afterward the 2015 World Solar Challenge! We're taking this extra time for development that we have been wanting to do for a while but haven't had the manpower, time, or money. We'll be running in the 2014 ASC with a new motor, giving us a noticeable bonus in power - the equivalent of eight to twelve additional solar cells. Our array encapsulation and modularization is maturing aggressively, but I can't talk about that just yet . . .

Valkyrie, as we are referring to the ASC 2014 vehicle, will be the first of our solar cars with an all-composite chassis. This was a decision made with a great deal of consideration. Working with steel as a primary structural material has given us a great deal of flexibility in design and freedom in construction while meeting a high standard of crash protection. What we hope to achieve with a composite and largely CFRP (carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic) structure is even greater design freedom, even greater crash protection - CFRP can have an order of magnitude greater specific energy absorption than steel - at the expense of slightly less leeway and forgiveness in construction. Our toolmaking has improved to the standard we require for a composite/CFRP car and we are excited about improving those methods even further. 

Speaking of molds: we are looking for a new home for Chopper del Sol's molds! The molds reflect the 2012 ASC version, with straight front fairings. Taker will have to arrange shipping but otherwise they are likely free of cost. For more information, contact

I'd like to welcome our newest sponsor, ANSYS. ANSYS' FLUENT package will be the principal fluid simulation suite for the development of Valkyrie. Without well-packaged, flexible, and relatively computationally inexpensive modeling tools like FLUENT, the things we do would be significantly less tractable, more expensive, and more time consuming.