As a group of eager Stanford students awaited the announcement that would detail this year's engineering challenge, chatter among the group predicted that 2013 would be most formidable to date. And, being some of the best and brightest, it should come as no surprise that they were correct.
The mission they were given was to design, build, and pilot a racecar that could compete against some of the top racing teams on Earth. Not only must this vehicle survive, but it would have to win a transcontinental endurance race straight through the heart of the Australian Outback. And, there was the kicker: their racecar would have to complete the entire 1850 mile voyage on less than one gallon of gas. Surprisingly, this absurd fuel restriction was the only part of the challenge that did not raise an eyebrow. It was actually expected. Because these students are the Stanford Solar Car Project (SSCP) and their mission is the 2013 World Solar Challenge. And everyone in this contest knows that being the fastest without a drop of gasoline is the only path to victory.
The SSCP set out to make the motor within Xenith the most powerful and efficient to date.
And, based on models and simulations, it appeared their new design showed promise to deliver. But, theory alone cannot satisfy a team that is hungry for a win- this critical component would need to prove itself empirically. Only through direct measurement could the team refine the acceleration, speed, and energy economy Xenith would ultimately command on race day.
The SSCP team wanted to add a clever twist to their dynamometer (dyno): implement one of Xenith’s regenerative brakes as its energy absorber. This setup would allow them to simultaneously study the efficiency of their regenerative braking system while testing their motor. But it was unclear if such an improvisation could be made to this standard. To gain perspective on if this approach could be realized, the SSCP Team called on the experts at FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology.
Consulting with Solution Engineers at FUTEK made it clear that their dyno would need a TRS605 Rotary Torque Sensor as the center of its measurement system. The TRS Series sensor integrates a rotary encoder with a freely spinning torque transducer ...