Wind-Powered Car Designed and Built by Lehigh University Students to Go for a Record

May 20, 2010
Wind-powered car designed and built by Lehigh University students to go for a record
Lehigh University, www.lehigh.educ

The world record for a wind-powered car is 126.1 mph, set last year by British engineer Richard Jenkins on a stretch of the Mohave Desert near the California-Nevada border. But if engineering students at Lehigh University have their way, that record won’t stand much longer.

Their design for a “land yacht” features not sails but tall, inwardly canted wings. According to the student designers, the yacht magnifies wind speed by keeping a narrow angle between its vertical wings and the wind direction. The smaller the angle, the more speed a yacht draws from the wind. As the yacht moves, however, the wings generate a force perpendicular to the wind direction. The yacht’s wheels must counter this side force to keep the vehicle running straight. So students are busy designing tires and a suspension that will supply this counter force but not increase drag or friction enough to slow down the yacht.

The wings mount 15 ft from the main fuselage. This configuration should give pilots better aerodynamic control over pitch, roll, and yaw, the student designers say.

Sponsored Recommendations

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.


May 15, 2024
Production equipment is expensive and needs to be protected against input abnormalities such as voltage, current, frequency, and phase to stay online and in operation for the ...

Solenoid Valve Mechanics: Understanding Force Balance Equations

May 13, 2024
When evaluating a solenoid valve for a particular application, it is important to ensure that the valve can both remain in state and transition between its de-energized and fully...

Solenoid Valve Basics: What They Are, What They Do, and How They Work

May 13, 2024
A solenoid valve is an electromechanical device used to control the flow of a liquid or gas. It is comprised of two features: a solenoid and a valve. The solenoid is an electric...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!