Next-generation Blue Sky Solar car is put to the (wind) test in Prof. Philippe Lavoie’s lab

The Blue Sky Solar Racing team is a year away from unveiling their newest vehicle — and they’re not leaving any aspect of its design to chance.

In July 2018 the team conducted wind-tunnel tests of 3D-printed models of two retired vehicle designs, Horizon and Polaris, in the lab of U of T Engineering Professor Philippe Lavoie (UTIAS).

“It was the first time I’d been contacted by the Blue Sky Solar Racing team,” said Lavoie. “They asked if they could spend the weekend at my lab, testing aerodynamic forces on different car configurations. My grad students and I were happy to accommodate and support the student club and their work.”

Patience and attention to detail are key themes during this build year, says the team’s aerodynamic lead, Khanin Thongmongkol (Year 4 EngSci): the team spent a month creating the 3D models.

Thongmongkol led the testing, which involved measuring and comparing the wind-flow characteristics around the bodies of the two car models. The results from the wind tunnel tests will inform the team’s design of the 10th generation vehicle, including how to reduce drag and improve wind flow around the car to make it more aerodynamic.

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