Sunshine, Not Gas Powers Teen Machine
By Karl Remsen, LCHS Teacher
On Saturday, May 13 a team of engineers from Lake County High School (LCHS) headed down to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science with a solar powered car they had build from scratch to compete in a Solar Rollers competition. Schools from across the state had spent the spring building a solar powered car out of a kit of parts and their ingenuity and the competition consisted of a series of races to test the efficacy and efficiency of the cars.
The LCHS team was composed of seven students: Jasmin Santos, Diana Hernandez-Trejo, Conner Camp, Hayley Webster, Jessica Jardee, Emma Azeltine and Sam Hall. They spent most of the spring semester in their engineering class working to build the solar powered car, which was about 12 inches by 18 inches.
The building process consisted of designing the mechanical and the electrical systems that powered the engine. The teams learned to solder, to program electronic speed controls and remote controls, to build a solar array, and to balance the charges coming from the array with the power needed to make the car go. The students had to continually solve problems and fine-tune the systems to work with one another.
The Lake County team had never competed before, and they were excited to have been able to create a car that was able to move under its own power. They exceeded expectations in the all-out speed portion of the competition, clocking in at 20 kilometers per hour.
“It was great to be able to create a solar powered car from nothing. We had to fix a lot of things, but it was awesome to see the car go,” Santos said.
In the main event, an hour-long circuit race, the traffic proved to be a bit much for many teams. After numerous crashes on the crowded track, more than half the field was reduced to trying to repair their cars due to broken parts. The LCHS team the steering linkage had been destroyed when another car had smashed into them, meaning the Panthers were out for the rest of the race.
“It was crazy out there,” Webster noted. “The track was just so crowded that it was impossible to avoid collisions.”
The team was excited to have been a part of the project. They are thankful to the Trail 100 Legacy Foundation for providing the funding to make this project possible as the main sponsor.
“This was a fun project and I really feel like I learned a lot since we were able to dig in and build this car,” mentioned Hernandez-Trejo after the competition was over.
In other school news . . . . There are a couple of upcoming dates to note on the calendar if you know one if the 48 graduating Lake County High School Seniors. Class day will be held Thursday, May 25 at the high school auditorium. This event will begin at 1 p.m. and is an inspiring program of scholarships distributions and awards. Come and celebrate the class of 2017’s accomplishments. Then, a couple of days later on Saturday, May 27, the tassels will be turned at the LCHS Commencement Ceremony starting at 10 a.m. at the LCHS gym. Congratulations!