Fuel cells are able to generate a charge by the method of electrolysis. When you give power to the cell the cathode and the anode attract the ions, cathodes get the positive hydrogen ions and the anode collects the negative oxygen ions. When the fuel cell is charged you can connect it to a system and give it power. To set up the fuel cells we are using water to both sides and then we seal it. We then connect it to a solar panel, flip it, and put a light on the solar panel to charge the fuel cell. In my solar car the fuel cell is the secondary power source. We have to charge the cell and then hook it up to the jumper cables connected to the breadboard, along with the solar panel, so our vehicle can move. http://www.instructables.com/id/Separate-Hydrogen-and-Oxygen-from-Water-Through-El/
Solar panels are able to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When the released electrons are captured they can be used as electricity. Solar panels are built of many solar cells, or sometimes referred as photovoltaic cells, that capture electrons to power a load such as a machine. The cells are made of thin semiconductors treated to form an electric field. They have a positive and negative side. If you put several panels together they form an array and the bigger it is the more electricity it obtains. I am using the solar panel as my main source of power because it has more voltage than the hydrogen cell. When the solar panel gets light from a source it moves through the series circuit and powers the motors which moves the axle and turns the back wheels. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2002/solarcells/
Series and parallel circuit
The main difference between parallel and series circuits is that parallel circuits have multiple paths to go though and series only have one. If you link things in series and you can combine the voltages. One problem with series is that if something is not plugged in then the whole circuit doesn’t work. With a parallel circuit there is multiple paths so one thing getting unplugged doesn’t stop the flow of electricity. It is easier to set up a series circuit then a parallel circuit. I used a series circuit to run my car. I hooked up the solar panel first then I connected the fuel cell in the middle of the circuit to add more voltage and make the car move faster and farther.
Picture of the circuit
pictorial representation of circuit
Reflections on project
This project needed a lot of thinking such as how to built the car and how to connect the cables. You needed to know how to spin the wheels and use the motor. I connected my motor the back axle at the bottom of my car. My car is mainly just a base with wheels connected to the bottom and railings so the breadboard, fuel cell, and solar panel don’t fall off. I originally had 3 wheels but while building I found out that the motor wouldn’t fit with the third wheel in the middle of the front on the car. Other problems I had were connecting the motor to the bottom of the car and powering the vehicle. The fuel cell didn’t hold the charge and the solar panel didn’t provide enough power. Somethings I would try on my next project is getting more ideas from my partner and sketch an idea before trying to build. I did most of my ideas in the project and not use my partner’s ideas. I had some problems while building so making a sketch before would help run into less problems.
1. The car was best powered by 2 AAA batteries in series. It was a continuous flow and worked well. 2. The power described the suitability of the power source. 3. You would need 2 solar panels to equal the 2 AAA batteries because the solar panels provided about 1.3V each and the AAA batteries provide 1.5V each. 4. You would need about 15 fuel cells to have the same amount voltage as the 2 AAA batteries. 5. A system that would have the solar panel and the fuel cell would have to have both connect in series. You would need to charge the fuel cell with the solar panel and then connect them. You could use the solar panel as the primary in case your fuel cell runs out of charge. 6. The photovoltaic cell is made up of semi conductor materials. When light comes the electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the semiconductor material. If electrical conductors are on both positive and negative sides, the electrons are captured in the form of electricity. Solar cells are connected by frames called a photovoltaic modules. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2002/solarcells/ 7. Electrolysis pushes an electric current through a compound. Electricity thorough a cathode and an anode will make the positively charged hydrogen ions go to the cathode and the negative oxygen ions go to the anode. http://www.instructables.com/id/Separate-Hydrogen-and-Oxygen-from-Water-Through-El/