Teijin was integral to the University of Michigan’s historic 2nd place finish in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, providing us with the materials necessary to build our incredible car, Novum.
Nearly all of the composite fibers for the car came from Teijin. Teijin gave UM Solar Car high graded prepregged uni-directional carbon fiber to reinforce stress points, prepregged carbon fiber weave for internal aero parts, and Aramid Twaron fabrics for the undercarriage of the car and the sidewalls and roll cage of its chassis.
This all translated to a significant amount of weight savings, shaving off countless precious minutes and contributing to our great race time. And thanks to the high quality of Teijin materials, we were able to proceed with construction and racing with full confidence in the structural integrity and safety of our vehicle. Twaron, for example, increased the impact resistance of the carbon fiber laminate, ensuring superior protection in the event of a crash.
Bit by bit, we pieced our car together using Teijin carbon. And we are very grateful that was the case, because the superior quality of Teijin’s product allowed us to build the best possible manifestation of our bold monocoque design.
“The carbon was some of the highest quality in terms of material property that the team has been able to get in recent years,” Composites Lead Bennet McGlade describes. Teijin allowed Novum to be as formidable and competitive as we had envisioned.
Teijin also proved to be an invaluable partner, helping us stay on track when our timeline was crunched. “Although Teijin is a first-time sponsor, they are very enthusiastic and helpful,” says Race Operations Engineer Janice Lau. “They really worked hard to find everything in time for us to use on the car, and we really appreciate it.”
During the design phase, Novum’s aerodynamic efficiency was always a top priority. Novum’s ultra-small body maximized aerodynamic efficiency and went against the widely-adopted credo in solar racing that maximizing array area and building a larger, less aerodynamic car is the best strategy. With this unconventional smaller solar car, Michigan Solar Car hoped to go big by going small, and building with Teijin’s high-quality carbon fiber equipped us to do just that when the time came.
Thank you, Teijin! We could not have done it without you! Now, heading into the 2018 American Solar Challenge, we can feel confident; we know that in partnering with Teijin, we put our best foot forward during the manufacturing process and built a car that was safe as well as fast. After all, we built Novum with some of the absolute best carbon and aramid in the world.