Design and Fabrication of a Lightweight Composite Body for a Solar-Electric Vehicle 901528

This paper describes the design and fabrication of a composite body for a solar-electric vehicle. The body shape selected was chosen to optimize the aerodynamics and solar collection features essential to a solar-electric vehicle, and refined using wind-tunnel information from a one-sixth scale model. The computer model was transformed into a full scale model which was then used to produce glass fiber and resin molds capable of withstanding high temperatures. These molds were then used to construct a composite Kevlar/Nomex honeycomb/Kevlar body using a high temperature vacuum bagging technique, in an autoclave at a temperature of 175°C. The details of the construction process are described. Experiments were conducted on samples to test various mechanical properties of the finished product.


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