• KU Solar Car

Summer 2020 Recap

Welcome to the fall 2020 semester, everyone! It’s been a while, but we are glad to be back and better than ever with a team of new and old faces. This news update covers our 2020 summer progress and our plans for the fall semester as we strive to finish Astra.

General: Amidst this summer's COVID-19 pandemic, the team moved into a new larger room at Peaslee Tech (shown below) to construct Astra. But shortly after moving, the FSGP race rescheduled for September was officially postponed until next year, but that did not stop the team from working on the car for next year's race. More on each team's progress below:

Our space at Peaslee Tech

Mechanical team: Over the summer, the mechanical team produced drawings for the water jetted sheet metal to be welded to the chassis. The team also completed Astra's vehicle design report and reviewed all 120 pages with the team advisor, Professor DeAgostino. Mechanical also created a motor fixture to test the motor outside of the car and manufactured reinforcements for the battery pack enclosure during the summer.

Astra's internal chassis design

Astra's motor

Aeroshell team: The aeroshell team spent the summer constructing the top shell plug, canopy plug, and starting the bottom shell plug made out of plywood, foam, and PVC pipes. These plugs will be used to create female fiberglass molds to construct the actual aeroshell parts. The aeroshell team also successfully conducted a tube layup test to measure the attachment points' strength between the aeroshell and chassis. Finally, the aeroshell members help build a rack to hold vacuum bagging material out of extra PVC pipes, as shown below in the photo.

Our new vacuum bagging material rack
3D printed stencils for soldering

Solar team: The solar team took advantage of this summer's work from home time and spent it researching and designing improvements to our array design and manufacturing processes. Solar also began creating 3D printed stencils to make soldering the solar cells easier and sourced out and ordered more encapsulation material. Solar ended the summer working on troubleshooting the team's MPPT's (maximum power point trackers) to run with the test arrays.

Electrical team: Our electrical team spent the summer wiring up the BMS voltage taps and thermistors to the full battery pack. Then electrical wired up the battery charger to grant the ability to charge the battery pack to maximum capacity. By the end of the summer, the team began working on wiring up electrical components such as Arduinos and relays for the start-up sequence, which will be used when test the motor.

BMS with the battery pack
Electrical lead Nick Kellerman working on the battery pack

Business team: The business team spent the summer working to develop new digital recruitment and sponsorships plans. Business also worked on some new merchandise and website designs to be seen soon!

Written by Tate Orton // KU Solar Car Content and Media Lead

Edited by Hayden Barnes // KU Solar Car Operations and Business Director

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