Composites

2017-07-25

On its way to supersonic speed with carbon fibers

From Munich to Berlin in 35 minutes – this is the vision of the Scientific Workgroup for Rocketry and Spaceflight (WARR) student initiative from the Technical University of Munich. With their latest project, they want to come closer to their goal and are receiving support from SGL Group in the form of materials and expertise.

At the beginning of the year, the students from the Munich-based workgroup won the first prize in the “SpaceX Hyperloop Competition”. Hyperloop is a concept originally proposed by Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. The aim is to build high-speed trains that travel through a tube under a partial vacuum at almost supersonic speed.

To realize the project, 30 selected student teams presented their concepts for transport “pods”, which could one day be used to transport passengers through the tube, at the competition in Los Angeles. During the final stage of the competition, the student group from Munich prevailed with the “fastest pod” and furthermore won the award for “Best Performance in Flight”. 

While the first competition focused on an overall functional concept of a Hyperloop pod, the second competition will concentrate on the maximum speed that can be achieved on the test track. The students in the WARR Hyperloop team developed a new prototype made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) with support of carbon fiber materials provided by SGL Group.

In addition, SGL shared with the WARR team its expertise as well as resources and systems from its Lightweight and Application Center (LAC) in Meitingen, near Augsburg. 

At the LAC, the students had the chance to work in close collaboration with engineers from various areas on developing and producing carbon components for the Hyperloop pod prototypes.

Supersonic speed with carbon fibers (c) 2017 SGL Group
Supersonic speed with carbon fibers (c) 2017 SGL Group

Andreas Wüllner, Head of the business unit Composites ? Fibers & Materials (CFM) at SGL Group said, “With the Hyperloop pod, we have the chance to support an international project in the area of future mobility. The project also reflects our strategy: Together with our partners, we aspire to develop comprehensive solutions for the requirements of the specific application.”

SGL Group also works in close collaboration with the Technical University of Munich beyond the Hyperloop project. For over eight years, the company has been supporting the Carbon Composites endowment chair (LCC), which maintains a holistic approach towards development of fiber-reinforced composites and their applications.

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