January Progress Update

General, Outreach, Post of the Week / Tuesday, January 16th, 2024
(Kait(9) presents to a group of parents and interested middle school students on solar panels)

Kicking off the new year, we’ve been working around the clock to perfect SOCKEYE for the 2024 National Solar Car Challenge. Throughout January, our members have participated in ongoing projects as we continue to prepare for testing the car, with many members stepping up to lead their own projects. 

Of the many projects going on, one that has made significant progress is our new mounting system for our wheel covers. When the team started building solar cars, we used screws to attach our fairings. However, when turning La Cucaracha into Jimmy, one of the upgrades was to install quarter turns on the side panels. This made the side panels easy to uninstall and reinstall, making for faster tire changes and easier maintenance. Last year, we designed SOCKEYE’s side panels to be attached with a heavy-duty Velcro. Being able to remove the side panels without tools was extremely convenient, but its main drawback was that the Velcro was hard to align. As an experiment for this year, we decided to try using magnets. 

(wheel covers)

After a few iterations of this idea, we settled on a magnet mount using five 3x20mm magnets to attach the fearing to the car. This way, the side panel is easy to remove and install, and as an additional benefit is self-aligning.

(Self-aligning magnet mounts)

In addition to active modification projects to Sockeye, we’ve begun preparations for future Green Energy Team members. This past week, we presented at Raisbeck Aviation High School’s second 8th Grade Info Night where incoming middle school students and parents got to see the extracurricular opportunities that the school offers. Throughout the night, members of the team interacted with intrigued students, discussed the importance of clean energy and conversed about what we are doing to address it. As the 2024-2025 school year approaches, we hope to inspire a new group of students to continue experimenting with engineering in the field of green energy.

(Atticus (11) and Caden (9) discussing the Sockeye design at 8th grade Info Night)

Looking forward to the second half of the 2023-2024 school year, we are excited to share further endeavors developing and improving on Sockeye’s design in preparation for testing. However, we also look forward to engaging in similar community outreach events as the info night. As we continue to develop and schedule upcoming outreach events, we are looking for opportunities to both demonstrate the effectiveness of solar energy and share what we’ve learned to local communities.

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