Solar Dragster


The primary objective of this challenge is to create a solar powered “car” that is designed to travel over a specified route in the shortest combined time. Students will design, source and fabricate the chassis, running gear and other components including the motor of your choice.The learning objective of this event is to evaluate student knowledge of electrical phenomenon as it applies to electrical circuitry and energy transformations from electrical to mechanical.

Dragster Specifications and Materials:

  1. One photovoltaic panel will be provided to the team. The team may only use this panel. The specifications ofthe panel are as follows:Size: 4 1⁄2 x 13 inches Power: 3W at 3V
  2. One DC motor will be provided for each team.
  3. Panels cannot be shaved, drilled, or delaminated. They must be returned to APT after the competition and must be unaltered. Failing to do so will result in a fine of $29.99.
  4. One solar panel and one motor are allowed per car. Reflectors, supports, and power leads may be added to these components as needed.
  5. Power Source: The sun’s light is the only energy source that may be used to power the vehicle. No batteries, capacitors, flywheels, or any other storage devices are permitted.
  6. If the sun’s energy is judged insufficient, a battery pack and batteries will be furnished for each team. Motor power leads should be readily accessible for easy attachment to a battery pack.
  7. Energy-enhancing devices, like mirrors, must be firmly attached to the vehicle.
  8. The remainder of the vehicle must be your own design and can be made from any other material.
  9. The vehicle must adhere to all parameters, be structurally sound, and safe to contestants and spectators (e.g., no sharp edges, projectiles, etc.).

Performance Specifications:

  1. The track is 12 meters in length – 1⁄2 meter in width – 5 cm tall “bumpers” will line the sides of the track. There will be a 12 cm (tall) gradual rise about 2/3’s down track from the starting line.To assist in traction the roadway is #60 (coarse) sandpaper.
  2. At race time, the vehicle will be placed behind the starting line with all its wheels in contact with the ground.
  3. An early start or push start will result in a DNF for that heat.
  4. All vehicles will be started when the official signal is given.
  5. At least one member must wait at the finish line to catch the vehicle.
  6. Team members may not accompany or touch the vehicle on the track.Vehicles stalled on the track may be retrieved after the end of the race has been declared by the judge.
  7. Challenges must be made before the race judges begin the next heat.All challenges must come from the team members who are actively competing. The decisions of the race judges are final.
  8. Judges may inspect cars at any time before, during, or after heats.

Performance Metrics:

  1. Time to Complete Race:Each team will be given the chance to race twice. The fastest time of the two will be taken.
  2. Design and Fabrication:
    Each car will be judged on the merits of quality craftsmanship, unique concept, and overall aesthetics, including appearance, engineering innovation, and originality of materials used.

1 thought on “Solar Dragster

  1. Pingback: Testing Motors For The Solar Dragster Race | Academy of Physics and Technology

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