Newsletter 3: Realising the body

30 - 01 - 2015

Solar Team Eindhoven Newsletter #3

REALISING THE BODY

WHAT A MONTH

TOMMIE PERENBOOM

Wow. What a month. Stella is nominated for The Crunchies which brought quite some attention. Internet articles, internal messages to every student and staff of the University, the national newspapers and even live interviews on television. It was a good start of the year! This attention brings us more opportunities to spread our message and create awareness for Solar Mobility and our product.

Last month Michael and Joep wrote about designing a body that is both aesthetically pleasing and has great aerodynamic performance. Mathijs Brands explained that he made calculations on how to make the car stiff and strong enough but also as light as possible. This month we’ll see how the process is coordinated, how the engineers strengthened the car and an introduction to the beating heart of the car.

AND THE CRUNCHIE AWARD GOES TO…

The winners of The Crunchies will be announced on the 5th of February at 03.30 (Dutch time). The ceremony will be held in Davies Symphony Hall.

STRUCTURAL DESIGN

PATRICK DEENEN

In a large project like this; building a solar car with a multidisciplinary team of students, system architecture is essential for an optimal integrated design. The architecture provides a structure in which the main task, the design and construction of a solar car, is divided into manageable tasks. The goal is to ensure that all of these small tasks fit perfectly together. As one of the system architects of the team; together with Marald on the field of Electrical Engineering and Ruud on the field of Software it is our task to make sure the architecture is sound and complete.

We divided the car into modules which all serve a specific function. First of all we want to convert solar energy to kinetic energy, which is done by the solar, battery and motor module. Next, we need a structure which can use this kinetic energy and keeps the occupants safe. For this we have the chassis, body and mechanics module. And last but not least, we want the driver to communicate with the car and the car to communicate with the outside world, which is done in the interior and interaction module.

At the beginning of the year we decided which requirements our end product should meet. These were not always easy to combine! For instance, our goal to give the car an aesthetical pleasing look while at the same time having an optimal performance seem to counteract each other. However, thanks to dedication and some great engineering we managed to find a balance between these two goals and achieved some great results!

KINETIC ENERGY

One of the main purposes of the car is to convert solar energy to kinetic energy. This is done by the solar cells, the battery and the in-wheel motors.

WORKING TOGETHER MAKES US STRONGER

DENNIS VAN IERSEL

Last month we explained that we wanted to design a car that is both aesthetically pleasing and low aerodynamic resistance. The aerodynamics team created a well designed body but now it was our turn to design the structure of the car. Using simulation software we calculated the minimal amount of material to ensure the car will be able to withstand all possible forces that are generated if the car drives around, and to ensure the car is safe enough to withstand various impacts and collisions. Using the simulation software it is possible to determine how many layers of carbon fiber need to be applied to the car to make it stiff and safe. Obviously more layers will result in a heavier car, so we strive for the minimal amount of layers needed to fulfill the requirements that are specified in our architecture.

We had some challenges with our simulation application. The design has fancy but also complex curves. This made it hard for us to execute structural calculations. Curves are fairly complex to simulate, making the calculations difficult. This means that we were having troubles to determine where to put the right amount layers of carbon fiber. Thankfully, we got support from engineers from Segula and Ansys and together with my dedicated teammembers we completed the job.

SUSPENSION

TIM JANSEN

Another part of the car is the suspension. You may compare it with your legs. The wheels are the connection between the road and the car, but to connect the body to the wheels you need a suspension. Just like your legs connect your feet to your body. The suspension is responsible for the handling of the car and makes sure you can drive the car in an intuitive way and have a safe ride. Do you want to feel every bump in the road or do you want to ‘float’ on the road? This makes the suspension important for the comfort you experience in the car.

For energy efficiency, it is very important to keep the wheels vertical. If a tire is tilted, there is more friction and thus loss of energy. Suspension is a special aspect of the car: it lifts the entire car so it needs to be incredibly strong, however you still want to achieve a light car and a light suspension.

SUSPENSION

These are two different examples a suspension. Tim’s custom designed suspension will be finished in two weeks. This means we can have a look at his suspension next month!

GIVE THE SKELETON ORGANS

MARALD OTTEN

Last month Mathijs Brands pointed out that the structural design is like a skeleton. It is what the car holds together. But a skeleton needs muscles to move and other organs to function. That is where we come in. We provide the electrical components that make the car move and make you able to interact with the car. This includes the solar cells, the battery system, the motors and all the other electronics in the car. Do you want to know more about the ‘organs’? Make sure you read our next newsletter!

WHAT A CELEBRITY

There she is, standing in the spotlight. Stealing the show. It was great to hear the reactions of another field of expertise. It puts everything back in perspective and makes you realize what you are exactly doing. 

THANK YOU ALL FOR VOTING

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