Solar Boat 2018 almost ready for launch

Watch the TU Delft Solar Boat fly over the water on its hydrofoils during the launch event on 1 May at the Oostpoort in Delft. Last month, the TU Delft Solar Boat Team assembled all the boat’s subsystems to finalise it and get it ready for testing.

A big deadline was the unveiling of the boat to our sponsors and the rest of the world. The entire plan comes together in the assembly phase. All the parts that were designed and produced have to fit correctly and work together if the boat is to function properly. The struts, from which the outlines were designed by our Dynamics & Stability department, needed to fit perfectly in the hull, designed by our Hull & Body department.

Chief Electronics Laura assembling the energy box. (Photo: Paul Schellekens)

Our electric engine is controlled by the electronic system in our ‘Energy Box’ and its power consumption and actual output need to be visible with a live connection through the data acquisition system. This is where electronics, driveline and software meet.

These are examples of different designs, made by different departments, coming together. You can imagine that the degree of communication between departments during the design phase becomes clear as every little error is found during the assembly and testing. This is what makes it hard, since the entire system is only as strong as its weakest link. This is also why, during the assembly phase, some designs have to undergo iteration steps to function as required.

TU Delft Solar Boat 2018 in the assembly phase. (Photo: Paul Schellekens)

In order to go through this phase as efficiently as possible, a good assembly plan was needed since this phase was relatively short in comparison to the other phases. We have spent seven months designing and producing, but now, over the past four weeks, the entire boat has become tangible and the subsystems were tested.

This week, the boat will enter a very important phase: the testing phase. All individual subsystems were tested before assembly. The general dry testing is done according to a big checklist, which contains all safety and stress tests given by the different departments and the Solar Boat One Regulations. After successfully completing every single test, the boat is ready for its first wet test. This may seem meaningless, but it is a very important test. The first tests will assess pilot safety, water tightness, the internal electrical communication and the live connection to the server.

  • Visit the launch of the TU Delft Solar Boat 2018 at the Oostpoort in Delft, 1 May 2018 from 12:00 to 14:00. 

Wouter Spek, chief driveline

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