Cars

How Is Carbon Fibre Applied To A Solar Car?

After a brief hiatus, our solar team is back in full production mode. Ever wondered how carbon fibre finds its way onto cars?

Support the UWS Solar Challenge Team! If you have marketing/sponsor dollars (hello car makers, telcos and electronics multinationals) or engineering support to donate, please contact Greg at UWS Solar Car.

The Challenge

25 engineering and industrial design students from UWS are working together to build a car powered entirely by the sun, ready for a race across the spine of Australia. In October next year the team will race the car from Darwin to Adelaide as the underdog, pitted against better funded rivals.

Team Diary: Week Seven

Our team began the task of laying carbon fibre onto the shell of the solar car this week in a process that worked out to be much tougher than first anticipated.


Ever seen a car with a carbon fibre spoiler, bonnet or other piece of body kit? It got that way thanks to the process our team has been furiously trying to perfect for the last week.

Carbon fibre doesn’t come in panels that you can just cut into a car shape and bob’s-your-uncle. No, instead it comes in long, floppy, flyscreen-like sheets that need to be measured, cut to size and combined with a resin against a fibreglass shell, then left to set.


The team completed the shell and sanded it down using epoxy adhesive and sandpaper to create a smooth application surface, before laying the carbon fibre sheet down on the car. The resin was mixed with water in plastic cups and painted onto the car over the carbon fibre sheets.

Trouble struck when the team realised that the resin was drying and in turn hardening much faster than expected. This was a problem because whole sheets needed to be done at once before another layer of material was laid over the top to seal the car and suck up excess resin.


Work was done quickly to ensure that top results were achieved and in one day, our team laid 14-square metres of carbon fibre successfully.

Stay tuned to our solar car challenge team to meet the team!

Our team still needs sponsors, so if you’re keen to help the underdog get a leg up in this amazing contest, contact Greg at UWS Solar Car.