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10th July 2017, Tokyo

Teijin supports vehicle built for World Solar Challenge

The Teijin Group’s advanced high-performance materials and technologies will be adopted once again in the latest solar-powered, carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) vehicle developed by Kogakuin University Solar Team for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world’s biggest solar car race, which will take place in Australia in October.

The materials and technologies have been provided by Teijin, Toho Tenax, the core company of Teijin’s carbon fibres and composites business, GH Craft, Teijin’s composite structure design development and evaluation unit, and Teijin Frontier, a products converting company.

Technical support

GH Craft is engaged in all stages of composite-structure fabrication for super-lightweight vehicles, including design, moulding and structural evaluation. The company is a leading developer of CFRP composite structures for transport vehicles in the automotive, marine, rail and aerospace fields.

Kogakuin University’s new solar car, Wing. © Teijin Group

“Considering that the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge was a lifetime task of the late Manabu Kimura, the founder of GH Craft, the company provides the Kogakuin University Solar Team with all possible technical support leveraging its site, including dispatching a GH Craft member to accompany the solar-car race team to provide mechanical and technical backup,” the company reports.

High-performance materials

Toho Tenax, together with Sakai Ovex, developed an ultra-lightweight carbon fibre fabric made with Tenax carbon fibre as thin as 0.06 mm, which is incorporated in the car’s CFRP body. Teijin’s Panlite Polycarbonate (PC) resin is used for the car windows to reduce the vehicle’s body weight and improve driver safety.

Technora para-aramid fibre prepreg for the wheel wells is said to reduce vehicle weight and reinforces durability. Teijin’s Technora para-aramid fibre boasts eight times the tensile strength of steel and yet is just one-fifth the weight of steel, according to the manufacturer. V-Lap nonwoven polyester fabric for the seat cushion contributes to the vehicle’s lightweight body as well as driver comfort.

Nanofront ultra-fine polyester fibre is used in the team’s driving gloves, which aim to offer extra-positive steering. Teijin Frontier’s Nanofront, which as a cross-sectional area that is just 1/7,500th that of human hair, realises superior fitting, positive gripping, breathability and moisture permeability. Finally, Solotex polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) soft, stretchable, shape retaining and durable fibre, is incorporated in the team’s uniforms for excellent comfort and fit in harsh race environments.

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