It’s not everyday that we get the opportunity to create a product that would help a vehicle complete a 1,877 mile trip across the Australian outback, run solely by power from the sun.
That was the task at hand when we partnered with Chae Woo Lim, engineering director of the University of Michigan Solar Car Team. As the engineering director of the team, Lim oversees a team of 70 students who design, build and race one of America’s best solar vehicles.
The connection started in May 2018 with a request for a customized, lightweight IMPAXX energy absorbing foam to use in their vehicle. The Coastal team, led by Joe Stockert, pre-production engineer for Coastal Automotive, rose to the challenge of meeting the safety needs for the vehicle using our lightweight, passive safety materials.
“We were impressed the solar car team was already well-versed in our IMPAXX foam product and they already had a good idea of what they wanted,” Stockert said. “They gave us the design of their concept, and we were able to fulfill their need for a lightweight safety product.”
In solar car racing, every additional ounce makes a difference in the end result so a lightweight product focusing on safety met two of the group’s ultimate needs.
Our design team took the specs, reworked the design into two blocks that would fit the 110 millimeter space on either side of the cockpit and created a precision product that was lightweight and fit perfectly into the needed space, making adhesive material unnecessary.
Creating the final product took our team two days and started with programming in preproduction and included the use of abrasive wire saws to cut the IMPAXX energy absorbing foam.
“Our ownership team took this project very seriously and it was a great honor to work with the University of Michigan,” Stockert said. “We pride ourselves on passive safety products that saves lives, and to see IMPAXX used in this advanced application is very rewarding.”
Photography Credit: Chae Woo Lim