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Sunrayce 97 A New Learning Experience For The Engineering Technology Students At Middle Tennessee State University

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.378.1 - 2.378.5



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B. S. Sridhara

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Session 1547

Sunrayce 97 - A New Learning Experience for the Engineering Technology Students at Middle Tennessee State University

B. S. Sridhara Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)


The US Department of Energy (DOE) organizes a solar car race called Sunrayce, once in every two years. This race is open for all colleges and universities on the North American continent. As faculty advisor for the undergraduate team at Middle Tennessee State University, I submitted a proposal in the Spring of 1996. We were selected as one of the top 30 teams to compete in Sunrayce 97. The solar car project gave our students a unique learning experience in areas such as Engineering Mechanics, Machine Design and composite fabrication. It also provided an opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to practical situations, gain hands-on experience, and at the same time, get credit for their work. The project has been a great success and we are looking forward to competing in the race in June, 97.


Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is located in Murfreesboro, about 30 miles to the south of Nashville. MTSU, which was founded in 1911, is the fastest growing university in the state of Tennessee. Currently, we have an enrollment of approximately 18,000 students and 700 full-time faculty members. The university has five colleges; Basic and Applied Sciences, Business, Education, Liberal Arts, and Mass Communication. Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies is one of the 10 Departments under the college of Basic and Applied Sciences. We offer Engineering Technology, Industrial Technology and Pre-engineering programs. There are about 600 undergraduate students in the department, of which 200 students are majors in Computer, Design, Electro-Mechanical, and Manufacturing Engineering Technology areas.

Sunrayce - The Solar Car Race

The objectives of Sunrayce are to stimulate interest in technical education and careers among students, and to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy. The race is nationally sponsored by organizations such as GM, DOE, and EDS. We built our first solar car, the Solaraider and competed in the Sunrayce 95 qualifier in June, 1995. In January of 1996, I submitted a proposal on behalf of MTSU to compete in Sunrayce 97.1 In the proposal, I discussed, deriving from our Sunrayce 95 experience, different aspects of the project including Design and Engineering (driver safety, design and analysis, and material selection).2 Topics such as Organization and

Sridhara, B. S. (1997, June), Sunrayce 97 A New Learning Experience For The Engineering Technology Students At Middle Tennessee State University Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6804

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