Composite Testing at Magna Exteriors & Interiors

Thank You to the wonderful people at Magna for all their support!
Thank You to the wonderful people at Magna for all their support!

An important step leading up to the aerobody construction is understanding composite materials. The carbon fibre fabric we received from Axiom Materials and Park Aerospace need to be characterized to verify our ply schedule and cure cycle.

Last week, Magna Exteriors & Interiors generously helped us to run a series of tests for this purpose. During our visit, we first prepared the sample panels using a Carver Press. The nomex core is placed between carbon fabrics and the panel is pressed and heated to the required pressure and temperature to cure.

We performed a DSC thermography to determine the exotherm of the samples at different cure temperatures. This test helped us identify the minimum cure temperature that our prepreg can withstand. Lastly, we tested the relative mechanical strength of the panel using three point bending test.

At the same time, we performed similar test on our fiberglass sample from the mould to determine the maximum temperature our mould can withstand. We also performed a heat deflection test on fiberglass sample to determine the thermal expansion of the fiberglass material.

The test results will help us decide final ply schedule for the aerobody. Confidence in the cure temperature to achieve mechanical properties we require.

 

Composite Testing at Magna Exteriors & Interiors

Thank You to the wonderful people at Magna for all their support!
Thank You to the wonderful people at Magna for all their support!
An important step leading up to the aerobody construction is understanding composite materials. The carbon fibre fabric we received from Axiom Materials and Park Aerospace need to be characterized to verify our ply schedule and cure cycle.
Last week, Magna Exteriors & Interiors generously helped us to run a series of tests for this purpose. During our visit, we first prepared the sample panels using a Carver Press. The nomex core is placed between carbon fabrics and the panel is pressed and heated to the required pressure and temperature to cure.
We performed a DSC thermography to determine the exotherm of the samples at different cure temperatures. This test helped us identify the minimum cure temperature that our prepreg can withstand. Lastly, we tested the relative mechanical strength of the panel using three point bending test.
At the same time, we performed similar test on our fiberglass sample from the mould to determine the maximum temperature our mould can withstand. We also performed a heat deflection test on fiberglass sample to determine the thermal expansion of the fiberglass material.
The test results will help us decide final ply schedule for the aerobody. Confidence in the cure temperature to achieve mechanical properties we require.
 

Visit to Weber!

Last Monday, six team members went to Weber Manufacturing in Midland, ON to work on our top aerobody. After a 13 hour work day, plus about 4 hours of travelling, we were completely exhausted. However, it was a very valuable learning experience and was quite enjoyable.

We began the day by preparing the support structure for the aerobody, which was like putting together a plywood jigsaw puzzle so large that 7 people were needed. After lots of wiggling, jiggling, gluing, clamping, nailing, and screwing, the support was done! We turned our attention to layering the MDF, and wow that stuff is heavy! Dry fitting each piece, then preparing the surfaces and gluing as fast as we could manage wore us down, until finally, the last layer was clamped down for the night.

The entire experience was a great change from schoolwork, and all the team members learned a great deal. We would like to thank Weber for allowing us to use their facilities that day, as well as for loaning us their employee, Graham, whose experience and assistance is the only reason we were able to get the job done. Thank you both!

Safety Training at Filamat

On Friday, 13 team members attended a workplace safety training in preparation for our mold making at Filamat Composites.

Filamat is a manufacturer of fiber reinforced plastic products located in Missisauga, ON. Since our workshop on campus is rather small and not well equipped for composite work, Filamat has generously agreed to allow us to use their facility for the mold-making process.

As the plug is still being machined, we started to get some safety training regarding working in an industrial setting. David from Filamat spent the morning going over general safety protocols, WHMS symbols, personal protection equipments and how to react under different emergency situations. Then, we had a plant tour where David showed us the Filamat facility including the proper storage places for different chemicals.

Now that we are all trained up, we are ready to start making the mold soon! Stay tuned.

Thank You, MIE!

We are very excited to announce that the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering has renewed the support for our team!

Throughout Azure’s build and race cycle, our team has seen a steady increase of MIE students involvement. In fact, MIE Students currently make up about a third of the entire team. Did you know that both of our Mechanical Team Leads are Mechs (and they are both girls!).

In addition to MIE students, we’ve also increased collaboration with the Department. Since last year, the team has also been involved with 4th year MIE Capstone design course. We worked with two Mechanical Engineering groups for their design projects related to the solar car. Several MIE Professors and faculty members have been extremely supportive and helpful to us in terms of design advice, technical experience and reaching out to industry.

We are truly grateful for the recent support from the MIE Department from the Student Club Funding. Not only are we receiving financial support, but also machining time from MC78 Machine Shop which would come in so handy when we begin fabrication. Maybe we can even try our hands on the brand new 3D Printer.

Visiting JRoberts!

To thank one of our Visionary sponsors for Azure, Jroberts Manufacturing, we brought Azure to their facility in Woodbridge to showcase the result of their generous sponsorship.

Jroberts has been a firm support for Blue Sky Solar Racing since 2001 when they manufactured the magnesium rims for Faust. The relationship between Jroberts and our team has grown over the years and they manufactured the majority of Azure’s mechanical systems including the rims, the rear suspension and the front suspension systems (we still remember how the excitement that filled the shop when the parts arrived!)

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We are very glad to be able to showcase Azure yesterday at Jroberts. Not only did we get to thank Robert and John for their ongoing support for the team, we also got to thank the workers for putting in extra work time to machine these parts. The machinists were excited to see that the parts that they have made with their own hands now on a solar vehicle and they were happy to hear about our adventures in the 2011 World Solar Challenge. They also shared with us some of their expertise with the components last year and how we can design our parts to be easier for better manufacturing in the coming new vehicle.

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