Science

Schools race to power of Sunsprint

Sunsprint 2010 entrants with their solar cars
Wednesday, 1 September, 2010
Bob Beale

[UPDATE: results and pictures from the 2010 Susnsprint Challenge can be found here.]

Excited secondary students from across NSW and the ACT are making the final touches and adjustments to their solar-powered model cars in preparation for this week's 2010 Sunsprint Challenge,

Sunsprint is a keenly contested annual race in which contestants learn about solar energy, design and road safety. Growing numbers of primary-aged kids are taking part in the event as well, racing mini solar cars and boats.

More than 100 high school students will contest the main event, with 16 teams vying for cash prizes and the chance to win airfares to the national finals in Perth later this year.

They'll also get the chance to see a full-sized solar racing car and meet the UNSW Sunswift team, who rank as the world's top silicon solar racing team after taking out last year's 2009 Global Green Challenge.

The SunSprint Challenge is an exciting competition where schools in NSW and the ACT team up to design, build and race a model car powered only by the energy of the sun. Just like professional race teams, each student group works to a special set of design rules and technical standards.

Students have been building their cars and perfecting their race technique for months already.  Many schools build several cars and have trials at school before they turn up for the main event.

 After all the preparations, the teams come together on the UNSW campus on September 3 and 4 to race their creations against other schools. It’s a unique and fascinating way to promote teamwork and a really fun way to combine science, engineering, technology, maths and physics with creativity, imagination and manual skills.

"It’s all about learning while you have fun," says organiser Dr Rob Largent, of the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering. "Design and Technology students may use their entry as their final-year project as well

"But it's not just about competition, it’s also about road safety: to successfully complete a race every car must carry a 'driver and passenger' in the form of raw eggs.  The challenge is to design and drive your car to keep the eggs intact: speed kills!"

The event is sponsored by Jaycar Electronics, UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, the UNSW Faculty of Science and UNSW Faculty of Engineering. It coincides with the UNSW Open Day on September 4, with other activities on campus at the same time.

See:  http://www.sunsprint.com.au/  and  http://www.sunswift.com/

This year's entrants include teams from: All Saints Catholic  Boys (Liverpool); St Pauls Catholic College (Greystanes); Moorebank High School ; Newington College (Stanmore); Redeemer Baptist School (North Parramatta); St Francis Xavier College (Florey); Carlingford High School; Shore School (North Sydney); Gloucester High School; All Saints Grammar School (South Belmore); Northlakes High School (San Remo); Granville Boys High; Normanhurst Boys High; Birrong Boys High School; Ambarvale High School  (Campbelltown); Gorokan High School (Lakehaven).

Media contacts:
Rob Largent - 02 9385 5457  R.largent@unsw.edu.au
Faculty of Science - Bob Beale  0411 705 435 bbeale@unsw.edu.au