Royal NLR is the Dutch aerospace institute focused on making aerospace more sustainable safer, more efficient and more effective. They are the intermediary between universities and businesses by translating scientific knowledge into smart technological ideas NLR works in an objective manner, for and with the (inter) national business community and government agencies. This means NLR has lots of experience with the manufacturing and processing of composite materials. Our aeroshell is made out of carbon fibre reinforced polymer as this material is very light and stiff. Even though they have huge advantages over other materials, composites also have a drawback: composites are relatively difficult to manufacture. This makes NLR the perfect partner to support and help us.
For almost two months, our engineers have been working very hard at the NLR location in Marknesse. They have produced both the aeroshell and its mould. The aeroshell was made with the use of pre-impregnated carbon fibres (prepreg). A composite consisting of two components: fibres, to remove strength, and a resin to keep them together. Prepreg means that the fibres are already pre-impregnated with resin. This results in enhanced quality and strength over other methods, for which the fibres would not be impregnated already. NLR has lots of experience with this method and gave us crucial help during the whole process. This ranges from advice to the use of their high-end facilities.
Last week, we took our aeroshell out of the oven and finally we brought it back to the home base in Delft. The stunning result can be seen in the picture above. The last steps in the process are to bring the aeroshell to Splinter and Omnimark, who will coat and sticker it respectively. This will fully perfect its looks and make it ready to compete at the European Hyperloop Week. We would like to thank NLR for their help, and look forward to more collaborations in the coming years.