Ifield Community College have recently embarked on an exciting new project in partnership with Ardingly College, which involves designing and building a solar vehicle.
21st June - TES awards London, (ICC/Ardingly joint award shortlisted)
26th June - Big Bang South East
8th - 22nd October - BWSC in Australia
Solar Car visits ICC for the last time before it's journey to Australia.
Thursday - It was an early start as we left ICC at 5.30 am on the long drive to the South of France. ICC’s first visit to the Albi Eco Race saw eight students and three members of staff attempt to represent Ardingly Solar with vigour.
The students showed their fantastic music taste during the 15-hour journey. The fact we arrived in the dark and put up our tents showed just how practical they are. After a long day, but in good spirits, we settled in for our first night in France.
Friday - Rising early to meet the day head on, the students once again showed how brilliant they are. The car was put through some early testing, which saw the first student become a passenger (David from Ardingly College). Unfortunately, a problem developed with the back wheel which forced the car off the track after 2 laps!
We left Nick, Rob and George working flat out on the car and took a trip into Albi town centre to admire the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is St Cecilia’s Cathedral. This wonderful structure claims to be the largest brick building in the World. It is quite impressive to be honest, but the local fountain held the attention of the students longer!
After a lot of afternoon work the car made it to qualifying with what we hoped was a working car, and four stable wheels. Thankfully the engineers had done their best work and we were on the line for qualifying. ICC’s Marley and Karina took their places in the passenger seat as Ardingly Solar’s main driver Rob, and Ardingly’s Tim, and we preceded to qualify fourth fastest with some tentative driving with the new wheels.
Saturday - After the excitement of qualifying the previous day, Saturday meant we were looking at racing lines, chicanes and stiff German competition. An eight hour endurance race saw the staff take turns to drive the 3.6km circuit, with students from both ICC and Ardingly as passengers. With the students helping to navigate the turn, including those aptly named ‘the Devil’ and ‘the Jaw Breaker’, drivers were told to conserve the battery at first, so tried not to brake around the circuit and went slow and steady.
Later in the afternoon, with new tyres and mre confidence, the drives wee told to put their foot to the gas more, and speeds around the circuit increased, averaging 55 kph.
Ardingly Solar then attempted to compete with the Bochum team for the fastest lap, and got within 4 seconds of them, thanks to Rob’s speedy driving.
It was a particularly successful day and the students and staff from both schools were exceptionally well received. The two German teams, with their road legal cars, were phenomenal. They had driven from the University of Bochum with their cars that have been developed and refined by their students and backed by sponsorship from Thyssenkrupp (one of the World's largest companies). To even be competitive with them was superb and a testament to the amount of work that has gone into the car.
At the awards ceremony, although we missed out on a podium spot, Ardingly Solar were given a special mention and award. The organisers were incredibly impressed with the way our students conducted themselves around the circuit, were involved, passionate and enthusiastic, and highlighted the importance of including the next generation in the plight for alternative fuel sources.
Sunday - We left at 6 am after packing up everyone’s tents. Channelling the spirit of the car, we managed to catch an earlier ferry back and arrived to ICC at 9 pm.
Congratulations to all for a successful trip.
Click here to view photos of the trip.
Some bad news this week with the news ‘The Outback Buster’ battery won’t be fitted to the car. This means we will struggle to do a full 120km stint between checkpoints.
Happier news though is the year 9 students are getting ready for Albi on the 23rd May
Return to Ardingly.
This weekend saw our students rested, refreshed and ready to tackle anything on their return to Ardingly.
After the Easter holidays and a three weekend break everyone was excited to be back on project and learn what was needed next
After being updated on the progress of the project, including the new battery casing and ongoing creation of housing for thousands of battery cells, the software required to manage them and the finalising of details for the Albi trip, students were then asked to repeat their renovation of the older battery cells with all the remaining blocks left. This was a big task requiring all hands on deck to clean and prepare the older batteries and casing, drill out the space for the new soldering gun and get them ready to be replaced and upgraded.
During the week the TES awards were announced and ICC in collaboration with Ardingly have been shortlisted. Exciting news, stay tuned to see how it all develops.
Year 9 students along with Sixth Form and staff visited Ardingly College where they met the Prince Albert of Monaco. To view photos of the day, Click here.
Excellent news, we have just been informed that the project has been shortlisted by TES to receive an award.
This will culminate in the vehicle and students from both schools taking part in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC) in October 2019. The 3,000km route starts from Darwin and finishes in Adelaide. The car will be driven by sixth form students during the five-day race where we hope to become the first UK team to complete the whole 3000km.
The joint venture is enabling pupils to develop several important skills, bringing together engineering, science and creative abilities. Not only that, we shall be the only European (and possibly global) schools entry to take part in this exciting opportunity.
The 2-seater car weighs just 450kg and has a top speed of 75km/hr. The car has recently taken part in the iLumen European Solar Challenge and came 6th place in the Cruiser Class. The cruiser class for the 2019 BWSC is for solar cars designed for practicality and acceptance in a global market segment. Cruiser Class teams aim to change the way we think about what we drive and what fuels we use. Which hopefully gives the students and those that are taking part in the design and manufacture of the vehicle a head start in an increasingly competitive search for future energy sources as we become less reliant on fossil fuels as a society.
ICC are currently in the process of designing new doors for the car which need to be aerodynamic, allow the driver and passenger to get out safely and keep the Australian dust out of the interior. We are progressing very well towards this goal with year 9 and 12 students spending their Saturday mornings, and time after school each day working hard to try to get the job done before Prince Albert of Monaco visits on the 4th of April to view the car.
By taking part in this collaborative venture it enables students to work on real world applications and deepen both their scientific and design technology capabilities for employers and higher education establishments in an unparalleled way. For some students the project involves working on promotional material using various electronic and traditional media. If you would like to offer any (much needed) help or assistance with our exciting project, then please get in touch with one of the ICC team at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Click here to view photographs