Sicomin provide epoxy resins for revolutionary flying car concept
THE Antelope flying car with its sleek, futuristic design looks like something out of a science fiction movie, but the concept is far less pie-in-sky than several decades ago. Flying vehicles are being developed all around the world and could become the future of urban transport. The Antelope was designed by graduates of the Royal College of Art Intelligent Mobility programme who chose ENATA Aerospace, UAE to manufacture this innovative flying car concept. Sicomin has worked with ENATA since 2016 and was the natural choice when it came to the selection of epoxy resins for this exciting project.
The London-based Master of Arts course attracts designers from across the globe and reflects a world that increasingly requires vehicles to connect, share, electrify and become autonomous. This year’s graduates designed the Antelope: a one-seat, carbon fibre, multi-rotor flying vehicle. The flying car initially demonstrates the ability to hover and tilt to achieve forward motion. The next step will be to take off like a helicopter. This will be followed by a transition to tilted fans. The achieved speed will then generate lift from the body of the car and the Antelope will continue to fly like an airplane.
ENATA Aerospace used ultra-light aerospace materials and techniques to meet the highest quality and tolerancing standards, and to keep the weight to an absolute minimum. Its interactive customer progress report system provided daily updates allowing the graduates to monitor the manufacturing process. Within the challenging deadline of 60 days, ENATA Aerospace delivered the Antelope which is 2.5m long, 1.5m wide and has a full carbon fibre frame with a body weight of only 9kg.
The company used its robotic milling capability to rapidly mill a set of 32 moulds that were used to manufacture the car body. The external surface sandwich panels were moulded from low-density PEI foam and ultra-thin biax carbon fibre non crimp fabric. This carbon fabric is built up from uni directional layers at different orientations; using two to three layers of 30grs, depending on the areas.
The internal structure is made up of sandwich panels using carbon fibre fabrics and a nomex honeycomb core material. All body panels were wet laminated and vacuum consolidated using female moulds to provide the optimum surface finish.
ENATA chose Sicomin’s advanced epoxy laminating systems for the structure of the Antelope, combining excellent mechanical performance with optimised processing characteristics. Epoxy resin is significantly stronger than alternative resin types, has good fatigue performance and durability, and is proven to work well when combined with carbon fibre.
Sicomin’s SR1700 epoxy system has a very low viscosity at ambient temperature and can be used with various hardeners for the vacuum moulding of small or large parts to optimise working time. It offers an excellent adhesion to a variety of reinforcements such as glass, aramid and carbon.
- Sicomin is represented by Aerontec in South Africa