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NTU students build solar powered, 3D-printed car

Posted: 03 Feb 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D printing? urban concept? solar electric car? Shell Eco-marathon Asia?

An interdisciplinary and multi-partner collaboration

The two NTU teams consist of 16 students from the various engineering schools. Over a year, they had built the cars at the Innovation Lab housed at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace engineering.

With as many as 150 parts that had to be 3D-printed, the students collaborated with various NTU schools and research centres, as well as sponsors and institutions such as Stratasys, Creatz3D and The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART).

The designer of the NV8 electric car, mechanical engineering student Kam Sen Hao, said, "Initially we wanted a supercar concept, but after taking into consideration the dimensional requirements for the competition, we ended up with a sensible cute micro-car with vertical opening doors, which will appeal to all ages."

His co-designer, also from mechanical engineering, Ng Jun Wen, said it was a challenge to assemble the shell of the car which was produced in different parts separately by the various 3D printers at NTU and at other sponsor companies. The printing and assembly took the team three months' worth of effort.

"For it to be lightweight, thin and yet strong, we integrated a honeycomb structure and a unique joint design to hold the parts together. When seen against the light, the structure has a translucent see-through effect, like a dragonfly wing. It is a sight to behold!" Ng said.

With annual events first in Asia, then the Americas and Europe, the Shell competition challenges students to design, build and drive a vehicle that can travel the furthest distance using the least amount of energy.

"For Shell, sustainable mobility means helping our customers to be more fuel efficient while finding new innovations to deliver a cleaner transport system for tomorrow. The Shell Eco-marathon plays an important part by inspiring young generations of engineers and scientists to think creatively about fuel efficiency, and to put new ideas into practice," said Mr Jason Leow, general manager of communications, Shell Singapore.

Participating teams may enter vehicles using any of the following seven energy types: hydrogen (fuel cell), battery electric, gasoline, diesel, Shell Gas to Liquids (GTL), compressed natural gas (CNG) and Ethanol E100.

Student teams participate in either the Prototype or Urban Concept categories. For the Prototype category, teams enter futuristic prototypes focused on maximising fuel efficiency through innovative design elements. For the Urban Concept category, teams enter more "roadworthy" fuel-efficient vehicles.

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