Students Compete in Solar Sprint Contest

Young engineers from Chicago-area schools participated in the 12th Annual Junior Solar Sprint, a competition for solar-powered model cars on Saturday, May 18.

ARGONNE, Illinois – May 21, 2002 [] Seventh and eighth grade students have designed and built the model cars, which they raced in the competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory and CNH Global, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs and the Society of Automotive Engineers. The Junior Solar Sprint is a national program developed to generate enthusiasm for Renewable Energy, to improve students’ knowledge of these concepts and energy issues and to encourage young people to consider technical careers. “The contest requires students to use aerodynamics, applied science and engineering skills to meet technical challenges comparable to those that scientists and engineers face,” said Argonne’s Christine McGhee, who organizes the annual competition. “Developing a successful design requires experimentation, teamwork and organization.” All participating teams used a standard solar car kit consisting of a solar cell and motor. Cars are restricted to about shoebox size and must be powered entirely by the sun. The race was run in heats until the top-performing cars were determined. Prizes were awarded to top-performing cars. In addition, design awards were given based on technology, craftsmanship, appearance of a car and a working knowledge of a car’s design.

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