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Subsystem: Solar Collection

A.2 Rationale
(1) Problem statement: Due to the characteristics which are safe, renewable and environmentally friendly, solar energy is like the most appropriate resources to supply power for space elevator. For this subsystem, two solar panels are required. We should design a panels system make it more powerful and more efficiency. Firstly the panels should perpendicular to the sunlight; and secondly, find a connection method which can supply more power and the appropriate voltage and current to the motor. Also, a safety and reliable method for attaching the panels on the elevator need to be found. (2) Design goals: There are two design goals, firstly, the power output should be large enough to make sure the elevator can finish its race; and secondly, make the elevator as fast as possible. In another word, find an implementation to collect more solar radiation and a connection method to supply more power. (3) Creative development During the conceptual design, we use the brainstorm method to get some ideas and then do a simple judging to remove the impractical ideas. We generate alternatives as: The method attaching panels on the elevator: Plasticine or tape. Advantage: adjustable, dismountable, easy to realize. Disadvantage: unreliable. - Velcro. Advantage: adjustable, dismountable. Disadvantage: greater commercial values than others. - Glue. Advantage: reliable, easy to realize. Disadvantage: non-moveable. The connection method of these two solar panels: In series: to supply a larger voltage In parallel: to supply a larger current

(4)Decision process For decide the method attaching panels on the elevator, we use a decision matrix. We firstly thought of some criteria based on the design goals and weighting them, then placed these criteria (adjustable, dismountable, reliable, commercial value and how difficult) on the top of the matrix table, and the three

alternatives on the side. The Velcro got the highest score because even it has higher commercial values, it can achieve all of the other goals. However, for the connection method, we cannot make a decision by just discuss or something without data. We test the IV data for the two individual panels and two connection methods and finally chose the parallel combination. Because the current output of series combination is too small relative to the motor working current and the voltage output is too large. (5)Estimation We tested the IV data of the panels in a sunny day. These are some specific data:
Panel 1 Voc (V) Isc (A) Vmp (V) Imp (A) Pmax (W) 3.16 0.76 2.26 0.62 1.4 Panel 2 3.23 0.87 2.52 0.71 1.78 In series In parallel 6.36 3.15 0.74 1.44 4.92 2.27 0.59 1.25 2.9 2.85

* From the datasheet of the motor, the working voltage is 1.5V-4.5V and working current is between 0.15A-1.4A.

We can see the maximum power of both series and parallel are similar, and compare the value in this table with the working status of the motor, the parallel configuration should be a better choice.

A.3 Implementation
(1)Basics The panels were connected in parallel. As the graph1 shows, when photons hit the solar cell, the electrons in N-type will flow through the external lead to P-type, and the current will flow from P-type to N-type through the motor (SPECMAT, 2009, internet). (2) Materials: Wood blocks: Two wood blocks are used to tilt the panels to make them roughly perpendicular to sunlight. Graph 1

Velcro: Put one type of Velcro on the top of chassis and the blocks, and the other type on the back of the panels. It can attach the panels on the elevator. Wire: Two color of wire (black and red). Its for easy to identify the anode and cathode of the combination of the panels.

(3)Techniques: The main technique we used for this subsystem is soldering. We soldered the positive wires of those two panels together and negative wires together and also soldered the leads onto the connection points. The reason for soldering is that it can make good connectivity and good mechanical bonding. Also, gloves, masks and protective goggles are used as PPE during soldering. (4) Estimates or measurements: The dimensions of the panels system is shown in the graph 2. The IV curve and power output against voltage of two panels combination are shown in the graph 3. Graph 2

(5) Methods:

Graph 3

We used the concurrent engineering methods to develop our design. When we built the chassis, we also consider and started to develop the implementation of these panels. It reduced a lot of time because we can put the ideas into action in the moment and then tested it. It results in the easy development than just think and discusses and let we leave the impractical idea away.

A.4 Testing
Scrutineering: There is only 3.5 point are deducted. That means our design might be reliable, recycle, creative and well-formed. Time trials testing: The best performance of our elevator is about three and a half minutes. There was an accident: when the elevator went up about to the end-plate, the cloud shaded the sun and then the switch used to change the direction of the current didnt turned immediately, and it stays more than half minutes. But fortunately, it finally switched by itself without help. For the solar system, there was a little shading by tether onto one of the panels. And it might limit the total current output and may result a decrease in the speed.

B. Reflection
B.1 If I knew then what I know now
Before I did this course, I knew that a good creative development method will produce a good design, and a good design will cause a good product. Now, I know that the enough theoretical knowledge is necessary to get a good design. For example, I dont know a little shading on a cell of the solar panel will significant effect the total current output before and it lead to the mistake of the implementation of solar panels that I explained in part A.4. Moreover, practices are also important, we can know which ideas are constructability and which are impractical. So, I will leave an advice for next years class is Design is based on the theories and practices are the best way for judgment.

B.2 Plan for Procrastination

At the beginning of the course, our team make a schedule for this course refers to every task in detail and generated a Gantt Chart for the evens. However, we did not strictly finish every task according to our plane. It cased that we dont have more time to improve our elevator at the end.

B.3 Design for Success

For achieve the objective, everyone tried industriously. However, there were some problems with our elevator in the last day before testing and someone gave up to attempt. But some of us are not, we kept trying to fix every problems we found over the night, and then, we finally secceed.

B.4 Your Expectations

This course gives me a good opportunity to do a project within a group and let me know teamwork is very different with individual. In addition, I got much knowledge about creative think, decision method and implementation. It will be very helpful in my next courses and even the future engineering life!

B.5 Your feedback

This course is to improve our basic skill for engineering and teamwork. However, it seems kind of unfair in the final time trials. Because the cloud will affect the result, and even several tens of seconds!

B.6 Contributions
I provide the ideas about the switch, electric circuit and connection method of these two panels and finally accepted by our group. Also provide some materials like basal wood and switches. Moreover, I did all of the tests about the solar panels, and even the final improvement of the total elevator. In our group, everyone did their best to contribute this project. For example, Sihong Gong give me some ideas about the implementation of panels and did some research for materials.

Special Materials Research and Technology INC (2009) How solar cells work solar cell overview http://www.specmat.com/Overview%20of%20Solar%20Cells.htm (Accessed date 29/05/2012)