Teijin materials support solar car racer

Teijin's Toho Tenax unit provided several materials, including carbon fiber, for Kogakuin University Solar Team's racer, which will compete in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.

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The Teijin Group (Tokyo, Japan) announced on June 29 that its advanced high-performance materials and technologies will be adopted again in the latest solar-powered, carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) vehicle developed by Kogakuin University Solar Team for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world’s biggest solar car race, which will take place in Australia Oct. 8-15.

The materials and technologies have been provided by Toho Tenax Co. Ltd., the core company of Teijin’s carbon fibers and composites business, GH Craft Ltd., Teijin’s composite structure design development and evaluation unit, and Teijin Frontier Co. Ltd., a products converting company. GH Craft is engaged in all stages of composite structure fabrication for super-lightweight vehicles, including design, molding and structural evaluation.

Considering that the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge was a lifetime task of the late Manabu Kimura, the founder of GH Craft, the company provides the Kogakuin University Solar Team with all possible technical support leveraging its site, including dispatching a GH Craft member to accompany the solar car race team to provide mechanical and technical backup.

The Teijin Group is supplying the team with a variety of high-performance materials, including:

  • Ultra-lightweight fabric made with Tenax carbon fiber for the racing vehicle’s body. Toho Tenax, together with Sakai Ovex Co. Ltd., developed an ultra-lightweight carbon fiber fabric as thin as 0.06 mm, which is incorporated in the car’s CFRP body.
  • Panlite polycarbonate (PC) resin is used for the car windows to reduce the vehicle’s body weight and improve driver safety. Compared to glass, Teijin’s Panlite is 200 times more resistant to impact and weighs half as less.
  • Technora para-aramid fiber prepreg for the wheel wells reduces vehicle weight and reinforces durability. Teijin’s Technora para-aramid fiber boasts eight times the tensile strength of steel and yet is just one-fifth the weight of steel.
  • V-Lap nonwoven polyester fabric for the seat cushion contributes to the vehicle’s lightweight body as well as driver comfort. V-Lap is Teijin Frontier’s nonwoven fabric made of fibers oriented vertically (upward) to make it highly resilient and breathable, as well as lightweight.
  • Nanofront ultra-fine polyester fiber is used in the team’s driving gloves, which offer extra-positive steering. Teijin Frontier’s Nanofront, which as a cross-sectional area that is just 1/7,500th that of human hair, realizes superior fitting, positive gripping, breathability and moisture permeability.
  • Solotex polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) fiber is incorporated in the team’s uniforms for comfort and fit in harsh race environments. Teijin Frontier’s Solotex is soft, stretchable, shape-retaining and durable. It is also environmentally friendly as 37% of its components are bio-derived.

This year, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, which was inaugurated in 1987, will hold its 14th competition as the world’s biggest biannual solar car race to showcase advanced, innovative technologies for solar cars. The Kogakuin University Solar Team is entered in the competition’s Challenger Class. Teijin has been supporting the Kogakuin University Solar Team since 2013.