The Shanghai Tongji University student racing team, TJU, will participate in Formula SAE 2017, an auto-design competition organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International.
The first stop of the tour takes place in Germany this month. The racecar, dubbed TR17, was designed and developed independently by students from the College of Automotive Studies of Tongji University.
TR17 is painted with Axalta’s Spies-Hecker waterborne coating, courtesy of Axalta Coating Systems. The coating was applied at Axalta’s Asia-Pacific Technology Center.
Support from Axalta has enabled the TJU racing team to witness the birth of an innovative camouflage car body design with red, black and white patterns. The coating has decreased the car’s body weight when compared to the team’s previous racecar, providing an advantage over the competition.
Lightweight yet stable racecars dominate today’s autosports. With carbon fiber, the TR17 is able to reduce its overall weight, but the car-body surface is very porous. Therefore, the coating must accomplish smooth coverage and quality appearance while keeping its total weight to the lightest level when complete.
Axalta’s technicians applied Spies-Hecker waterborne coating to the TR17 and the weight of the entire car was increased by only 700 grams, although the thickness of the coating was around 50 microns – slightly thinner than an 80-micron-thick A4 paper.
“The TR17 is specially designed to bear patterns of China’s national flag at the sides of its tail wings,” said Zhang Renjun, technology and training manager at Axalta China Refinish, who is responsible for TJU’s race car coating project. “Having China’s national flag presented on a car demands high standards of the painting technology, equipment and environment used. Axalta Spies-Hecker is designed to provide performance efficiency and its waterborne property offers sustainability to the environment. Axalta’s wet-on-wet coating technology requires only 1.5 sprays per step, completing the coating process of TR17 with the best coating effects in only three days.”
Sponsorship of the TJU race team aligns with Axalta’s global STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education program as well as the company’s CSR commitment in China, which incorporates education on sustainability.
The cooperation between Axalta and Tongji University’s racing team is part of demonstrating the value of technologies, engineering and innovation behind Axalta products as a way to inspire students to develop a passion for or pursue a career in coating innovation and technology, according to the company.