Motor Team Check-in: Big Ideas Award, Motor Dissection, and Coast-Down Testing

With the spring semester out of the way and a busy summer ahead, the motor team has finally gotten a chance to reflect on the many things it’s accomplished over the past two months since its previous blog post (“If We Had Cylinders, We’d Be Banging On All of Them”).

Rotors in Motion Poster

Firstly, we are proud to announce that Rotors in Motion, the motor team’s entry in the 2012 Berkeley Big Ideas contest, won 2nd place in the Energy Efficient Technologies category and a $4000 prize! A big thank you to the Big Ideas staff for making this accomplishment possible and a huge round of applause for Isaac Spiegel, who spearheaded the Big Ideas entry, and the other motor team members who worked tirelessly to draft, revise, and polish the 15-page proposal document. Go team!

Isaac holding the NGM SCM150 rotor


In other news, team members took time out during dead week to disassemble our old NGM SCM-150 motor to get a better understanding of the working principles and innards of a permanent magnetic motor. This would not have been possible without the hospitality of Davis Hall machine shop manager Jeff Higginbotham. Pictures of the dissection process can be found here on our Flickr stream.

Finally, several members spent the last day of finals to perform a coast-down experiment with Impulse to determine the aerodynamic and tire rolling resistive forces that impede the car at constant velocity, important parameters in determining how our custom-built motor should perform. While scouting for a suitable location, we paid impromptu visits to some of our wonderful sponsors Fastenal and SunPower who were more than happy to chat, trade business cards, and snap a few pics of the car. Another big thank you to Fastenal for their most recent donation of storage shelving and a very large assortment of fasteners which will be very helpful for preparing Impulse for the American Solar Challenge. The coast-down test itself was a great success and CalSol coders are hard at work as we speak to unwrap and decode the precious collected data.

Looking ahead, the motor team plans to finish a first iteration design of the new motor spindle by the end of summer 2012. We are also very excited about the beginnings of a partnership with ANSYS, a software simulation company, whose powerful multiphysics software will be invaluable to simulating our motor’s mechanics, electromagnetics, and thermodynamics. Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for a new blog post about the upcoming American Solar Challenge!

1 thought on “Motor Team Check-in: Big Ideas Award, Motor Dissection, and Coast-Down Testing”

  1. Congratulations for Rotors in Motion on their second prize- undoubtedly they deserve the first place and this is simply a matter of time and smoothing of the imperfections.

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