Further developments in using model solar racers as an introduction to engineering

Andrew Lau, Tobin Short, Elizabeth Kisenwether, James Fogarty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper describes recent improvements in the design of model solar racers based on experience with first-year engineering and middle school students. With both audiences, the main educational goal is to introduce students to engineering in a fun way. Several modifications have been added to improve our program relative to the national Junior Solar Sprint, including 1) less expensive, more durable solar cells, 2) a different DC motor that matches the lower power output and higher array voltage possible with the new cells, and 3) an additional race powered by rechargeable batteries. Another distinguishing feature of our effort is the combination of field experience from the middle school and engineering analysis with the first-year engineering students. These efforts inform one another and have resulted in an enhanced understanding of the performance characteristics and tradeoffs in the design process. We have been able to build an analytical model that accounts for the possible variables affected by the design. These include gear ratio, friction, car mass, drag coefficient, frontal area, array wiring, and solar intensity. We have also developed simple tests to determine solar and motor performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Solar World Congress 2005
Subtitle of host publicationBringing Water to the World, Including Proceedings of 34th ASES Annual Conference and Proceedings of 30th National Passive Solar Conference
Pages2478-2483
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2005
EventSolar World Congress 2005: Bringing Water to the World, Including 34th ASES Annual Conference and 30th National Passive Solar Conference - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Aug 6 2005Aug 12 2005

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Solar World Congress 2005: Bringing Water to the World, Including Proceedings of 34th ASES Annual Conference and Proceedings of 30th National Passive Solar Conference
Volume4

Other

OtherSolar World Congress 2005: Bringing Water to the World, Including 34th ASES Annual Conference and 30th National Passive Solar Conference
CountryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL
Period8/6/058/12/05

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Further developments in using model solar racers as an introduction to engineering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this