Airborne & Delft Hyperloop: a Story of Advanced Composites
The structural components of our competition pod, the chassis, battery boxes and aerodynamic shell, are made of carbon fiber composite. Carbon fiber composites are very suitable for applications where low weight, high strength and a high rigidity are required. As we are a team of only students, we could definitely use some help from a specialized company for the development of our structural parts. This is where Airborne came into play.
The people of Airborne have assisted us throughout the whole year. In the design phase, they gave advice during weekly meetings. Anders Brødsjø, technology manager of Airborne, actively thought with us about our design: how can we make it more integrated, how can we design for production. These meetings greatly improved our products. For example, he helped us choosing a lay-up for our chassis suited for the extreme load cases it has to withstand.
Later on in the year, we even had a workspace at Airborne where we produced all of our carbon fiber components. We could also make use of their facilities, such as Airborne's Automatic Laminating Cell (ALC), a curing oven, various tools and a large post-processing room. The ALC is a large robot which can lay down plies with a high accuracy. We had the opportunity to use this innovative machine for the production of our chassis. This greatly improved the quality of this essential component by reducing production errors encountered when doing this by hand.
During the production, we could always rely on the help of Airborne, in the form of both knowledge and facilities. For example, they assisted during the vacuum infusion of our aerodynamic shell and followed us during the post-processing of all of our components. Even after production, we could consult Airborne for assembly issues, such as the accurate alignment of suspension components on the chassis.
All in all, the structure of our vehicle would not have been of such high standard without the outstanding help of Airborne.