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8th May 2019, Châteauneuf-les-Martigues

Sicomin epoxy resins for Antelope flying car

Antelope is a one-seat, carbon fibre, multi-rotor flying vehicle. © Sicomin

Antelope is a one-seat, carbon fibre, multi-rotor flying vehicle. © Sicomin

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 chosen for the supply of epoxy resins for this exciting project. “It has been a pleasure to support ENATA Aerospace with this beautiful and innovative hybrid design and we look forward to continuing our successful collaboration,” commented Marc Denjean, Export Manager of Sicomin.

Antelope is 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.

Antelope flying car

ENATA Aerospace was selected by the RCA graduates to build the ½ scale demonstrator in-house at their facilities in Sharjah, UAE.  The company used ultra-light aerospace materials and techniques to meet the quality and tolerancing standards, and to keep the weight to an absolute minimum. Within the 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 9 kgs.

The Antelope was designed by graduates of the Royal College of Art Intelligent Mobility programme. © Sicomin

The Antelope was designed by graduates of the Royal College of Art Intelligent Mobility programme. © Sicomin

ENATA’s designs are underpinned by advanced composites technology. 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 biaxial carbon fibre non-crimp fabric. This carbon fabric is built up from unidirectional layers at different orientations; using two to three layers of 30 grs, 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.

Advanced epoxy systems

ENATA chose Sicomin’s advanced epoxy laminating systems for the structure of the Antelope. 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, the company reports.

Sicomin’s SR1700 epoxy system was selected, having been specially formulated for the production of high-performance composites such as aerospace applications. The 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 optimize working time. It offers an excellent adhesion to a variety of reinforcements such as glass, aramid and carbon.

“ENATA has worked with Sicomin on the Foiler, drones and many other composite products for many years. As a result, we had every confidence that Sicomin’s high-quality epoxy resins would be a perfect fit for the revolutionary Antelope flying car concept,” said Olivier Nicolas, CEO of ENATA Aerospace.

www.sicomin.com

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