Going the distance

Liberty Christian School in Argyle took the green flag last week and placed fifth in the Solar Car Challenge at  Texas Motor Speedway.

Liberty’s car raced against 30 other cars from schools across North America.

The goal was not to cross the finish line first but to complete as many miles as possible in a certain amount of time.

Liberty’s car completed 337.5 miles in four days of competition, July 18–21.

“What an amazing week!” said Liberty’s Science Department Chair Heather Lytle. “We finished with 225 laps total! We are so proud of our team members and their coaches.”

Teacher Dr. Brent Dragoo said this year’s car was Liberty’s finest.

The solar car was constructed and completed by students Josh Porter, Cameron Balkey (co-captain), Corey Dodd, Jared Sutter, Preston Collins (co-captain), Conner Hutcherson, Charlie Asprey, Chris Svatik, and Logan McDivitt.

Balkey said that with the right gear ratio, Liberty’s car could potentially go up to 50 mph.

Porter added that this group of students learned a lot in creating the car.

Seniors in Liberty’s Applied Engineering class built the car, and another 10 to 12 students in ninth to 11th grades also came to the regular meetings that introduced students to the project and got them involved.

Teacher Ken Marko said this project motivated students in the sciences, engineering, and technology, and introduced students to engineering principles such as aerodynamics, electric power, and energy conversion. It also taught students how to identify and understand design requirements, how to research and investigate design alternatives, and how to use critical thinking processes to make decisions on what components to use in the building the car.

This year CoServ Electric partnered with Liberty as one of the sponsors of this project. In addition to giving funds to support the project, CoServ designed and funded a wrap for the solar car trailer.

Jesel Incorporated also partnered with the team to help support the purchase of additional equipment needed to build the car.

With the solar car project, students learned how to analyze different parts of the car to optimize its performance, and gained valuable hands-on experience building the car and testing it to ensure it met the requirements. In addition to learning valuable teamwork skills, students were introduced to SolidWorks, a computer-aided design (CAD) tool used for designing the solar car.

Next year’s race is currently scheduled to run from Dallas/Fort Worth to Los Angeles, Calif.


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