Choosing the pod material: Toray BT250E-1
Finding materials for a Hyperloop pod that must have minimal air and rolling resistance in order to travel at high-speeds in a near-vacuum tube is not your everyday challenge. But then the Hyperloop, soon to be the ‘fifth mode of transportation’, is not your everyday innovation. To meet structural, weight, and strength-to-weight requirements for the chassis portion of the pod, the team chose Toray BT250E-1, a uni-directional Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer prepreg from Toray Advanced Composites. Such lightweight and strong material enabled us to optimize the number of plies to give us the strength only in the directions we needed it, reducing weight overall. Although we had originally intended to use the Automated Tape Lay-up machine to create the chassis, COVID-19 prevented us from using the equipment. We forged ahead with hand lay-up and were able to produce a chassis weighing less than 11kg providing strength to carry 6 tons.