Composites-intensive Nuna7 solar car takes early lead at World Solar Challenge

Nuon Solar Team's Nuna7, which features DSM resin and Oxeon carbon fiber, takes the early lead in the 3,000-km 2013 World Solar Challenge in Australia.

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The 2013 World Solar Challenge is underway in Darwin, Australia. The Nuon Solar Team's composites-intensive Nuna7 solar vehicle has staked an early lead in the 3,000-km/1,864-mile race. The lightweight design of the Nuna7 has been made possible by the close collaboration of DSM (Schauffhausen, Switzerland) with Oxeon (Bȯras, Sweden), makers of TeXtreme spread tow carbon fiber. Together the companies proposed a state-of-the-art composite system, using a sustainable styrene-free Daron resin from DSM in combination with high-performance TeXtreme carbon fiber fabrics from Oxeon.

DSM is the innovation partner of the Nuon Solar Team (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands). This solar-powered car race is held every two years. The 2013 edition of the solar race will bring new challenges, as for driver safety reasons new race regulations require significant changes in car design. These include the addition of a fourth wheel for improving stability and a larger driver’s canopy, requiring a full remodel of the vehicle and a complete change of the construction.

In order to compensate for the additional torsion resulting from the extra fourth wheel, the companies proposed a state-of-the-art, high-stiffness composite system for making the structural components of the Nuna7.

By introducing a TeXtreme 60-gsm fabric using HM carbon fiber (E-modulus of 395 GPa) instead of a traditional TeXtreme 76-gsm fabrics using IM carbon fibers (E-modulus of 294 GPa), immediately an increase in stiffness was obtained resulting in major weight savings and increase in impact strength. The styrene-free Daron resin provided a further increase in stiffness of 30 percent as a result of the excellent fiber-resin interaction.

DSM's Daron is a high-performance resin with good thermal properties. The resin, because it's styrene-free, requires no additional protection during application except goggles and gloves.

Race progress can be tracked online at the World Solar Challenge website.

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