An initial qualifying lap saw UCL’s ‘SolarFox’ placed 17th on a grid of 39 cars. The team maintained its position through the first day’s racing, clocking up an impressive 418km, and arrived at Alice Springs – the halfway point – earlier today in 10th place.
Led by Dr Richard Bucknall and Dr Konrad Ciaramella from UCL’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, the UCL team has been responsible for every aspect of the SolarFox’s design and manufacture. Much of the chassis and suspension components were fabricated and welded in the department’s workshop, with only items such as the wheels, tyres and seat bought off the peg.
The body was designed in-house using the latest computer software and was manufactured using fibreglass by a specialist firm, Fibreglass Applications. The UCL team then carried out the laborious task of attaching 402 solar cells to the car. The solar array will produce approximately 1300 Watts in bright sunlight, which is sufficient power for the vehicle to obtain speeds of up to 120km per hour.
The race, which attracts competitors from top universities and research organisations from throughout the world, tests technologies which may help provide the solution to one of today’s most pressing issues, explains Dr Ciaramella: “Exploiting renewable energy sources is vital in the fight against pollution and automobiles are the source of 30 per cent of the nation’s smog-forming nitrogen. Solar-powered cars could reduce or even eliminate the automotive industry’s contribution towards air pollution and while practical solar cars remain a long way off, the continuing development of solar racing cars moves this technology one step closer to reality.”
The race is scheduled to finish on Sunday, by which time the teams will have traversed some of Australia’s most remote and hostile environments, including Glendambo – population 30; annual rainfall 185mm.
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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