Polyurethane Takes on the World Solar Challenge
Imagine racing across a dusty desert terrain for more than 1,800 miles, facing temperatures of up to 113°F. Now imagine doing it without a drop of fuel. That’s the task that faced a team of Austrian students when they entered the 2017 World Solar Challenge.
Called the toughest solar car race in the world, the World Solar Challenge has been testing the limits of what solar-powered vehicles can do for 30 years. Teams from around the globe converge on the Australian outback for a weeklong test of their vehicle’s abilities.
This year, the Austrian team had additional help in the form of a special, three-layer polyurethane coating particularly suited to the carbon fiber composite material that makes up the solar-powered car’s body. Seventy percent of the material’s carbon content is sourced from biomass, adding another level of sustainability to the project. In addition, polyurethane and polycarbonate materials enhanced the car’s lightweight and aerodynamic design.