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Solar Racing Team Makes a Splash at Annual Competition

Stony Brook’s Solar Racing Team (formerly known as the Solar Boat Team) sped past nine other competitors at this year’s Solar Splash Competition in June to grab the title of world collegiate champion. Last year the team placed fifth, up from 15th place two years ago.

Solar BoatThe Solar Racing Team, created in 2000, is made up of students from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences who work together in a club to design, build, test and compete in the solar-powered boat contest. The team’s overall placement is based on its performance in categories such as slalom course, endurance, sprint events and a qualifying round, with visual presentation and design factoring into the score.

This year saw significant changes for the Solar Racing Team, such as a new competition site in Dayton, Ohio, and additional sponsors that came on board because of the team’s strong showings. Sponsors included the Office of Vice President of Research, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Career Center, Festo Corporation, Solidworks, Hexcel Composites, Nordan Composites, and Sun Nation Solar Systems.

Having more sponsors gave the team the needed resources to purchase parts and make design upgrades to the boat’s drivetrain and motor controller, which helped to increase the top speed of the vessel. The team had designed an extremely lightweight and strong carbon hull — the lightest at the competition — that improved the boat’s maneuverability and helped Stony Brook nab top honors.

“This was a major achievement for us, as it helped us place first or second in every event at the competition: qualifying (second), solar slalom (first), solar endurance (second), sprint (second) and overall (first),” said Ankit Tyagi ’14, who was a mechanical engineering major at Stony Brook now pursuing a doctorate at Penn State. Tyagi, who was president of the club in 2013, still lends his expertise, as do many Stony Brook alumni.

Although Stony Brook won the event, “we still have a lot of work to do to make a much more efficient solar/electric boat going forward,” said Ankit, who added that the team plans further upgrades to the boat’s hull in the next few years. “Being in first place might open new doors for the team to get more sponsors and resources to achieve that goal.”

Stony Brook's Solar Racing Team in competition

Seven students were part of this year’s Solar Racing Team: Dominick Fratto ’16 (electrical engineering); Philip Mauser ’16 (electrical engineering); Dominic Silva, ’14 (engineering science); Anthony Tricarichi (PhD student), Han John Tse ’15 (mechanical engineering); Tyagi; and Mohammed Uddin ’14 (mechanical engineering). Fratto and Silva served as the boat’s skippers.

Two crews worked on the boat’s mechanical and electrical systems. Nick Allen ’16 (mechanical engineering), Andy Chu ’16 (mechanical engineering), Silva, Han John Tse ’15 (mechanical engineering), Tyagi and Uddin worked on the boat’s mechanical system, while Fratto, Philip Mauser ’16 (electrical engineering) and Kevin Thorp ’15 (engineering science) worked on the vessel’s electrical system.

For more information about Stony Brook’s Solar Racing Team or to find out how to become a corporate sponsor, visit sbusolarracing.weebly.com.

—By Glenn Jochum



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