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DSM and TeXtreme® helping Nuna7 to win the World Solar Challenge

Schaffhausen, CH, 04 Oct 2013 14:30 CEST

Next Sunday 6 October the 2013 World Solar Challenge will start in Darwin, Australia. The Nuon Solar Team has been working around the clock to make the final preparations, and is determined to win the race with their Nuna7 solar vehicle. The unique lightweight design of the Nuna7 has been made possible by the close collaboration of DSM with Oxeon, makers of TeXtreme®. Together the companies proposed a state-of-the-art composite system, using a sustainable styrene-free Daron® resin from DSM in combination with high-performance TeXtreme carbon fiber fabrics from Oxeon.
Nuon Solar Team constructing the Nuna7 (photo courtesy of Jorrit Lousberg)

DSM is the innovation partner of the Nuon Solar Team that will compete in the 12th edition of the 2013 World Solar Challenge. This solar-powered car race is held every two years, covering 3000 km through the Australian outback. The 2013 edition of the solar race will bring new challenges, as for driver safety reasons new race regulations require significant changes in car design. These include the addition of a fourth wheel for improving stability and a larger driver’s canopy, requiring a full remodel of the vehicle and a complete change of the construction.

In order to compensate for the additional torsion resulting from the extra fourth wheel, the companies proposed a state-of-the-art, high stiffness composite system for making the structural components of the Nuna7. For this, a sustainable styrene-free Daron resin from DSM was combined with high-performance TeXtreme carbon fiber fabrics from Oxeon.

By introducing a TeXtreme 60gsm fabric using HM carbon fiber (E-modulus of 395 GPa) instead of a traditional TeXtreme 76 gsm fabrics using IM carbon fibers (E-Modulus of 294 GPa), immediately an increase in stiffness was obtained resulting in major weight savings and increase in impact strength. The styrene-free Daron resin provided a further increase in stiffness of 30 % as a result of the excellent fiber-resin interaction.

The novel styrene-free Daron resin from DSM is a high performance resin with great thermal properties. The resin is user friendly as no additional protection is required besides goggles and gloves during application. This is a real benefit, particularly when complex shapes have to be made. In order to achieve the maximum performance of the composite laminate, only a mild post-cure is needed, even when the laminate is very thin.

TeXtreme Spread Tow reinforcements are a novel kind of composite reinforcement suitable when looking to reduce weight and improve mechanical properties. TeXtreme is successfully used in Americas Cup, NASCAR, advanced aerospace applications, Formula 1 as well as sporting good applications such as bicycles, skis, golf shafts and ice hockey sticks.