Innovative materials for electric mobility

How can we make the mobility of the future as sustainable as possible? A group of students at RWTH Aachen University and Aachen University of Applied Sciences posed this question and, to find out, dedicated their efforts to an ambitious project: the development of a solar-powered electric car for what is likely to be the toughest solar car race in the world, the World Solar Challenge 2017 from October 8 to 15 in Australia. The competition is considered to be the toughest solar race on earth and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Teams from all over the world compete every two years in their homemade vehicles to win the 3,000 kilometer race from Darwin to Adelaide – without using one drop of fuel. To make their idea a reality, the approximately 45 junior researchers established the “Sonnenwagen Aachen e.V.” association, with the support of their professors.
Covestro shares the students’ enthusiasm and supports the project with material donations, technical service and as a gold sponsor. The material manufacturer wants to take advantage of the Sonnenwagen project to test various materials under the harsh climate conditions prevailing along the race’s route: temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius, high UV radiation and a high air dust content are typical there in October. The most important product application is a three-layer polyurethane coating from PPG, a leading global manufacturer of automotive coatings. The coating is particularly suited to application on body parts made of carbon fiber composites.
The climate conditions have a significant impact on the top clearcoat. It is formulated with the bio-based hardener Desmodur® eco N 7300, 70 percent of whose carbon content is sourced from biomass.
The Sonnenwagen further incorporates polyurethane and polycarbonate materials from Covestro, which contribute to the lightweight and aerodynamic design of the solar car.


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