|Electric Drag Race|
|Small Hadron Collider|
Recent website visits:
The information on this event is up to date.
Faculty coordinators: Professor Roy Clarke [email@example.com].
Preparation Team and Judges: Lynn Endicott, Abe Oraiqat, Daniel Wilcox
Teams of two students will design, construct and race a model car powered by electricity from an ultracapacitor. This is a device for storing charge, with a surprisingly large energy density. Cars will be timed over a prescribed distance. Cars will travel in a nominally straight line and will be timed over the length of the track. The race track will be approximately 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. The shortest of three times for each team will be used to determine the winning time. Each teamís score on a quiz, designed to test basic physics concepts related to solar energy, electric energy storage and motion, will be used in the event of a tie.
Event Location and Time:
Sidewalk outside the Dennison Building.
In the case of bad weather: Randall 2nd-floor Hallway.
10:30AM - 11:50AM and 1:00PM - 2:50PM
Apparatus and Materials:
Prior to the competition:
Each team will design and construct a model car driven by an electric motor. The motor will be powered by an ultracapacitor which will be pre-charged by a solar panel (or in the event of cloudy weather, a constant voltage power supply). The ultracapacitor, the motor and a switch will be supplied by the event organizers in advance. A solar panel, or other power supply, will be available to each team at the time of the race. This will be used to charge the ultracapacitor to a maximum of 2 volts. The solar cell will then be disconnected from the ultracapacitor and the stored charge will then be used to power the electric motor. A switch will be supplied to release the stored charge to the motor at the beginning of the race. Note that the solar panel itself will not be included in the design of the car, its only purpose is to provide the initial charge for the ultracapacitor. The motor is approximately 3/4" diameter x 1" long. Contestants are free to choose any design they wish (and it need not conform to that of a car, as such), but they must use the motor and ultracapacitor provided. No substitutes are permitted. A AA battery (1.5 volts) may be used to test the car, but no batteries of any kind will be permitted during the race.
Car Testing: It is recommended that cars be tested thoroughly before the day of the event to ensure straight running and to optimize performance. The mechanics can be tested with a AA battery to charge the ultracapacitor, or connected directly to the motor, but no batteries will be permitted during the race. Do not exceed 2 volts when charging the ultracapacitor.
Support equipment during the competition:
Contestants may bring any tools, equipment and supplies they wish to support their model car. No support equipment or materials will be provided. Tools, equipment and supplies may be brought to the race area and staged before the official race window begins. No additional tools or materials may be brought to the race area once the race window has begun. Last minute adjustments to the cars will be permitted at the discretion of the Race Director.
Bad weather option:
In case of bad weather on the day of the event (as sometimes is the case in early May) the race will be held indoors (in a hallway of the Randall Building) using a fixed voltage power supply (2 volts) to charge the supercapacitor. The power supply will be provided by the event organizers.
Hints and Tips for Competitors:
Improving Performance: There are many technical aspects that go into a well designed solar wheels platform. These include:
Sources for Supplies and Materials: The event organizers will provide, in advance, a parts kit containing useful items for building your model car. Two of these items, the ultracapacitor and the electric motor, must be used. No substitutes are allowed for these two items. In addition, some other items provided, like gears and sprockets, pulleys, wheels, etc., may be used at the team's discretion. A switch will be provided to release current from the ultracapacitor at the beginning of the race, to power the motor. Additional sources for supplies and materials may be useful:
Finally: TEST EARLY and TEST OFTEN !!
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