Case story

Where materials meet innovation - hyperloop competition winner

Delft, The Netherlands

The Hyperloop concept was unveiled by Elon Musk in 2013 as a new high-speed ground transport and transit system, with capsules (pods) travelling in a system of air pressure tubes / airless vacuum at a top speed of 1200 km/h. Student teams from across the world competed at SpaceX’s Hawthorne facility in January 2017, racing their pods down a test track which is 1.25km long.

Delft Hyperloop’s half-scale pod, which measures 4.5m long and 0.85m in diameter, was the first pod shell to be designed using carbon fibre composites. TenCate provided Delft’s team with epoxy-based carbon fibre woven and uni-directional prepregs for the manufacture of the pod’s monocoque from their European Centre of Excellence for thermoset systems, based in Langley Mill (Nottingham), UK.

The TenCate 8020 range was selected as the material of choice to reduce the mass of the Delft Hyperloop pod whilst providing a high stiffness to weight ratio, resulting in a strong yet lightweight pod weighing only 149 kg. The epoxy-based material has a low and flexible cure schedule (temperatures start at 70°C) enabling design and processing freedom.

Delft won the overall prize during the competition race weekend at SpaceX’s Hawthorne facility in January 2017, which was judged on speed, efficiency, safety and scalability of design, beating 28 other teams from across the globe.

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