Solar Vehicle EGR 100 12/3/2013 Introduction Living on Michigan State’s campus, one is constantly reminded to “Be Spartan Green”, whether it is turning off the lights or taking a shorter shower, Spartans are always striving to b e the most eco friendly students that any university could have. The problem at hand is to create a v ehicle using only green technology, such as solar panels, and have this car race up a ramp as fast as possible, with a shorter time being ideal.
There are many requirements for this project, first of them being that the team itself eeds to be qualified to tackle such a task. With two members majoring in mechanical engineerin g, two members majoring in computer science, and one in biosystems engineering, the team has a wi de range of engineers that all pose a special skill that will aid in the creation of this solar car. An other requirement for this project is materials. Some needed are solar panels, which are provided, whee Is, gears, axles and some form of a structure.
Each week the group needs to collaborate on new ideas an d be willing to share their opinions. A major constraint for this project would be time management. With so many different schedules it can be difficult to find the time to meet with the entire group at once. Each week group members would meet up to accomplish their goal. From starting out with prototypes and ending with a finished project. The desired end result will be a solar c ar that is light, efficient, and able to use it’s energy source in a way that will help it go as fast as possi ble up the ramp.
Methods There are many different possible designs that would have fit within the constraints o f this roject. The designs that were created initially were later discarded after realizing th at transporting a load was no longer a requirement. This meant that the solar car would only need to go as fast as possible. This could be accomplished by either reducing weight or increasing power. Reducing weight was ultimately the key factor to the design decided upon. Many different designs we re thought through all with pros and cons that eventually led to the final design.
The first alternative design was relatively similar to the primary design in that it had f our wheels, he motor on the front end of the car, and the solar panel placed on top, but it did no t incorporate any space to carry a load. The second alternative design for the solar car only had three wheels as to minimize weight. The axle of the third wheel would be connected to the axle of the fr ont two wheels by rubber bands so that the motor would still power the third wheel. Both of the design s were to be built upon a base constructed of 4 small long blocks of wood. These designs were created knowing that there would be future improvement.
A basis was needed to start of the design proce The design of the prototype is roughly the same as the alternative design. It consists ofa simple structure and base that act as a housing for the parts of the motor and the solar pan el. The design is aimed to use the least amount of parts as possible so that the vehicle will be lightwei ght yet sturdy. The motor and solar panels are at opposite ends to balance the car. There is a spot to ad d a load if necessary. The power is being sent to the rear wheels via a rubber band and gears. This prototype was not functional because of various reasons.
One of the reasons was because it was to bulky and heavy for the motor to move the vehicle. The elasticity in the rubber band caused the whee Is to have a hard time turning. It was decided that gears would work better because they are not goin g to have any elasticity damping the power of the motor. The final design was decided upon because it was lightweight and proved to be the most cost effective of all the designs. The base of the car is in a triangle shape that has a slit in the top of the triangle. The slit is big enough so that the back wheel can fit inside of it without touc hing the sides. On