Axalta Supports German Student Racing Team’s World Solar Challenge Entry
Basel, Switzerland – July 12, 2017 – In an official ceremony on July 5, 2017, the SolarCar Team, made up of students from Bochum University of Applied Sciences, Germany, unveiled the design of their entry for the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge - the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser - which takes place in Australia from October 8 to 15, 2017. The solar car was painted by Axalta Coating Systems (NYSE: AXTA), a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, at its Cromax Training Centre in Bonn, Germany. The thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser is the culmination of a 15-year research and development process. This year, the Team comprises 58 students from mechanical and electrical engineering, mechatronics, IT, sustainable development, architecture, economics, humanities, e-mobility and many other fields.
To keep the overall weight of the car down, the thyssenkrupp blue.cruiser has a steel frame and a carbon fibre skin. Although the carbon is very lightweight, it is very porous, which makes painting it and keeping the paint weight to a minimum a challenge. The SolarCarTeam supplied Axalta technicians with a sample of the car’s carbon fibre a few weeks in advance of the painting. This allowed the Axalta technical team to test different combinations of coating layers to determine what would provide the best coverage and produce the most lightweight finish.
The result was the application of a universal, high-quality two component polyester putty to compensate for the slightly uneven substrate and to ensure good adhesion. This was followed by an acrylic-based variable two component high solids filler for good isolation before finishing with the waterborne basecoat and fast airdry two component high solids clearcoat. For the project, Axalta leveraged its experience coating production cars made of carbon fibre for some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers.
“Axalta is passionate about supporting students and community engagement, and this project is the ultimate combination of our product technology, our extensive motorsports experience and our commitment to sustainability, which was of particular importance to the Team as they wanted to ensure sustainable materials were used. The clearcoat we used, for example, dries extremely quickly at ambient temperatures, yet delivers an ultra-smooth surface, perfect for reducing drag,” says Dirk Sauer, Technical Service Manager for Axalta in Germany, who oversaw the project.
Axalta’s support of the SolarCar Team reflects the convergence of the company’s product technology, commitment to motorsports, university relations program, and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Its participation in university racing teams enables Axalta to help students recognise not only the role of coatings in motorsports but also the applied technology, engineering, and innovation that go into the company’s products.
The SolarCar Team hopes to win the prize for best design, an award the university has secured for each of its six previous World Solar Challenge entries.
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Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colourful, beautiful and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, our coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the materials we coat to last longer. With more than 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, the over 13,000 people of Axalta continue to find ways to serve our more than 100,000 customers in 130 countries better every day with the finest coatings, application systems and technology. For more information visit axalta.com and follow us @Axalta on Twitter and on LinkedIn.