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Advanced Engineering 2018

Nuna 3's Aramid Solar Car Wins World Challenge

30 September 2005

Delft University of Technology students scored a convincing victory in the World Solar Challenge for the third time in a row using a solar car constructed with aramid.

Using the sun as energy source and running at an average speed of 103 kilometres an hour (64 miles per hour), the students from the Netherlands were the fastest to complete the 3010 kilometre (1870 miles) route running across the Australian landmass from Darwin to Adelaide.

The team were especially pleased to have made it across the finishing line as fewer than two weeks ago they had scarcely thought that possible. In the course of a test drive Nuna 3 left the track and appeared at first glance to have suffered major damage.

The Twaron aramid fibre incorporated into the bodywork had limited the damage which allowed the team to make a successful defence of its double championship title.

During its fourth test drive before the race Nuna 3 began to skid and landed up in a soft verge on the side of the road. The vehicle appeared to have come away from the suspension and, supported by one of the Twaron aramid wheel housings, had slipped off the road and into the soft area. Quite some damage was to be seen, including damage to the solar panel.

Twaron aramid’s tough construction in the wheel housing kept it from breaking up, which otherwise would have meant Nuna 3 sliding along on its belly, which would have led to significantly greater damage. Within a few days the team was able to repair the damage completely, and could substitute reserve cells for the solar panel. “Truly a case of saying long live The Power of Aramid’, was the comment of the then much relieved and now triumphant Nuon Solar Team member Anne-Marie Rasschaert.

Teijin Twaron fitted out Nuna 3 with Twaron aramid fibre and tape. Twaron has been used as crash protection, protection from pitting caused by grit and small stones, as armour around the many electrical cables and solar cells fitting Nuna 3 and for the wheel housing on both sides.

Image is reproduced courtesy of Hans-Peter van Velthoven.