Thank You Airtech!

Tanwei Chen // // No Comments

In addition to all of our generous sponsors for Zephyr, we would like to thank some of our new and returning sponsors for our upcoming 9th generation vehicle, Tachyon. We are proud to present Airtech Advanced Materials Group’s sponsorship for Tachyon.

Airtech Advanced Materials Group is the largest manufacturer of vacuum bagging and composites tooling materials, and has facilities all around the world. They have sponsored CalSol with vacuum bagging supplies since Goldrush, and we are glad to continue our partnership for next vehicle.

 

Airtech’s materials sponsorship with some members of the composites team.

 

CalSol uses vacuum bagging to ensure proper lamination in the finished part. In essence, we seal our composite layups inside an airtight bag and pump out all the air. This applies atmospheric pressure evenly to the composite part as it cures, making sure the layers stick together. While a large variety of bagging materials exist, we primarily use release ply, breather, and bagging film in our layups.

Example of Peel-ply. Photo Credit: Airtech International Online Store

Release ply (or “peel ply”) is the first layer we apply on top of the carbon fiber. This slick woven fabric prevents the epoxy in the carbon fiber from sticking to the other layup fabrics while allowing air to pass through. Furthermore, release ply leaves behind a textured surface on the finished part, making it easier for us to bond additional parts afterwards.

Example of breather. Photo Credit: Airtech International Online Store

Next, breather is a thick and “fluffy” layer which allows air to move laterally through the piece. This stops the formation of air pockets in the vacuum bag and cushions the bagging film from sharp protrusions in the part. Breather can also help to soak up excess resin in a layup, though this is less of a concern for our prepregnated carbon fiber layups.

Vacuum bagging film over a layup before vacuum is applied. Photo Credit: Airtech Global.

Finally, bagging film is an airtight sheet that holds the vacuum seal. This film has to be pleated so that no “bridging” occurs over concavities in the part. Airtech sponsored us with bagging film that allows up to 550% elongation, which makes it much easier for the film to reach and apply pressure to all parts of the layup.

Airtech’s generous support is crucial for Tachyon’s success, and we hope to create our best composites work yet with their help! Airtech’s logo graces our website, and will be displayed on Tachyon as she races in American Solar Challenge 2018, World Solar Challenge 2019, and beyond. We encourage you to visit their website at www.airtechonline.com for more information on their wide product selection.

Thank You Sunpower!

Evan Lewis // // No Comments

authorised dealer

Sunpower, a commercial solar company based in nearby Richmond, CA, has been designing and manufacturing state-of-the-art solar cells and modules since 1985.  Thanks to a generous discount, we were able to use their high-quality E-60 cells for Zephyr, which, in addition to some valuable advice from their engineers, allowed us to create our most efficient solar array yet.  As a gold-level sponsor, Sunpower’s logo is proudly displayed on our website, shirts, and vehicle. Sunpower’s reliability and performance was instrumental to the success of Zephyr, and we are planning to continue working with them in the development of our new vehicle, Tachyon.

If you would like to know more about Sunpower, we encourage you to visit their website at us.sunpower.com.

Thank You, Bay Area Circuits!

Hersh Sanghvi // // No Comments

Bay Area Circuits, a printed circuit board manufacturing company based in Fremont, CA, has been a dedicated sponsor of ours for 4 years. We custom-design almost all of the PCBs on our car, and Bay Area Circuits’ sponsorship has been critical to our development cycle. We know we can count on their rigorous testing process (which, having witnessed their flying probe test in person, is very impressive) and precise manufacturing to ensure the best possible implementation of our designs. In addition to their material support, BAC’s engineers have readily helped us with any unorthodox PCB design techniques that we were unfamiliar with. We will be proudly displaying BAC’s logo on Zephyr during the race this summer! If you have any PCB manufacturing needs of your own, we highly recommend you consider BAC! Visit their website: https://bayareacircuits.com/.