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Solar splash


  1. Jeffery Hollman,
  2. Joe Maco (ECE),
  3. Jason Pfund,
  4. Robert Ruff,
  5. Michael Schuhlein

Advisors: K. Yan, N. Asper, S. Kim

This year’s solar/electric boat team is comprised of five interdisciplinary members. The team has designed a boat to enter into the IEEE Solar Splash competition — an international intercollegiate solar boat regatta that takes place over five days. The competition focuses on promoting research and innovative design in renewable energies. The first event of the competition is the Solar Slalom, which demonstrates the boat’s maneuverability, and the team’s goal is to finish in 32 seconds. The next event is the sprint race, which demonstrates the boat’s maximum speed, and the team’s goals are to finish in 33 seconds and achieve a speed of 40 mph. The final event is a two-hour endurance race, which demonstrates the boat’s energy efficiency, and the team’s goal is to achieve an average speed of 12 mph. This year’s boat is made up of all new innovative designs. The hull utilizes a unique “surfboard-shape” design, which will be lighter than past years’ hulls. The design also has a bow stem to break waves and is flat toward the
aft for planing abilities. The drivetrain will continue last year’s compound drivetrain concept, which simplifies the rearrangement of motors for different competition events. This design is all-inclusive and will contain two motors for the sprint event and one motor for the endurance event. A new four-blade submerged propeller was designed for the sprint event to deliver the required thrust for the design speed at an optimal RPM. The steering system will be a push/pull cable system, which will allow for 60 degrees of steering for the slalom race and stability for the sprint race. The telemetry system will include sensors, such as the speed of the boat, propeller rpm, etc. The system will be run through an Arduino microcontroller that will relay information to the driver and to the rest of the team on land. The 2013-2014 team is confident that their new and unique design will make them extremely competitive in the competition.

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