August 2023

Moscow Poly Students Developed Light But Firm Carbon Steering Wheel

Moscow Poly senior students and participants of the “Sunny Regatta” project created and tested a carbon steering wheel that is characteristic with its light weight and firmness. The elaboration has been implemented into the two last solar-powered boats – “Murena” and “Valentina Queen” - that were made by the “Manta Ray” team within the “Project Activity” discipline.

The “Poisk” scientific community newspaper shares the details of the elaboration.

The carbon steering wheel is 180g, which is 15 times lighter than its predecessor, and also physically smaller which makes piloting more convenient. The uniqueness of the elaboration is in using new components – carbon fibre and synterm, alongside with the moulding technology. In the initial condition, synterm looks like a white powder that under high temperature (130) turns into a solid homogenous materials. In combination with carbon fiber, though being small this material can withstand big pressures.

“Developing a new steering wheel is one of the first steps towards the composite materials molding technology as our future boat will be fully composite. Design and construction are built to make navigation easier. The possibility to make a composite steering wheel gives it a light weight but high firmness, and consequently high efficiency in comparison to the previous steering wheels”, - says the “Sunny Regatta” project curator Valentina.

It took 1,5 years to make the wheel. The work consisted of several stages: developing the wheel itself, selecting an optimum manufacturing technology on a trial basis, creating the final version of the fitting, and quality making drillings. Now, if all the components and tools are available, the wheel can be made by one person in two days.

According to Valentina, using composite materials is a promising field of area that it`s important to explore for students: “Any enterprise that is engaged in manufacturing of vehicles that require steering control will be interested in our elaboration. It goes for shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, robotics and even space aircrafts”.

Making the carbon steering wheel became the first step in the process of practicing the composite materials molding technology. In the future, the students are planning to make a fully composite boat and fit the control hydrofoils from similar materials.

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