Monday Sept. 28, 2009
K-STATE SOLAR CAR TO BE ON DISPLAY AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY
MANHATTAN -- The football team won't be the only Kansas State University attraction in Kansas City this weekend.
Members of K-State's solar car team will be displaying their car, Paragon, at the Kansas Speedway Friday, Oct. 2.
The K-State solar car team has been building and racing solar cars since 1995. Paragon was built by the team in 2005 for the North American Solar Challenge. Members of the team are primarily K-State students in electrical and mechanical engineering, but all disciplines are welcome on the team, according to Ray Scheufler, a three-year solar car team member and a junior in computer engineering from Sterling.
Scheufler said the cars, which take about two years to design and build, are built for cross-country endurance races rather than racing at tracks like the Kansas Speedway.
"A solar car is a very performance-built, aerodynamic, lightweight car designed with efficiency in mind," Scheufler said. "Solar car teams use composite materials like Kevlar and carbon fiber because they are lighter and stronger than most metals."
"Some modifications have been made to the car since 2005," said Ruth Miller, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at K-State and adviser to the solar car team. "The most significant is the battery box design, which has been supervised by Ray Scheufler."
It will be the first time the K-State team has shown the solar car at a NASCAR event, and Miller and Scheufler agree it will be a great opportunity for solar car team members to gather ideas for the design and construction of a new car from NASCAR professionals.
"It will be interesting to see how NASCAR people will view the car and what their opinions will be on how we should improve it," Scheufler said. "The solar car showings also are a chance for K-State's College of Engineering to show people what it can do. The solar car team is a very high profile design team in the college. Our showings allow the public to see that we are getting a practical education at and can build something."