Oxeon's TeXtreme carbon fiber on solar racers

The Nuon Solar Team at Delft University, the Netherlands, and University of Michigan's Solar team use TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon fiber fabrics in their cars that will compete in the 2011 World Solar Challenge.

Oxeon (Borås, Sweden) reports that its TeXtreme Spread Tow Fabrics have been used by two teams competing in the 2011 World Solar Challenge. UM Solar at University of Michigan, USA, and four-time winners Nuon Solar Team at Delft University, the Netherlands, have both used TeXtreme to reduce weight of their solar cars.

The World Solar Challenge takes place every second year where teams from universities and enterprises globally compete with solar-powered cars in a race that covers more than 3.000 km/1,864 milies through the Australian Outback. The 2011 race will take place between Oct. 16-23.

Nuon Solar Team will compete with their car Nuna 6, where the predecessors Nuna 1-4 won the competition four times consecutively between 2001 and 2007. The total weight without driver of Nuna 6 is 145 kg/320 lb. The body is built using a sandwich construction reinforced with mostly TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon fiber fabrics.

Luuk Akkerman, head of production Nuna 6 at Nuon Solar Team, says, "TeXtreme's Spread Tow fibers make big differences, especially in light-weight projects like solar cars, where great stiffness as well as low weight is required."

UM Solar will compete with its car, Quantum, that is significantly lighter than its previous car, Infinium. The entire unibody chassis of Quantum weighs 19 kg/42 lb, which is more than 50 percent lighter than the previous car. UM Solar has primarily used a 100-gsm variant of TeXtreme Spread Tow Fabric and has also used a 76-gsm variant of TeXtreme Spread Tow Fabric prepreg to reinforce certain parts on the car.

"We were able to shave 200 lb from our 2009 car, Infinium, to the new car, Quantum, and the TeXtreme weave we used is a key part of this change,” says Blaine Riley, head of sourcing at UM Solar car.