The competition’s goal is to support the development of functional prototypes and encourage innovation by challenging student teams to design and build high-speed ground transport pods.
First announced in 2015, this year’s Hyperloop Pod Competition will take place on 21 July 2019 at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, US. For this competition, student teams from around the world have submitted their design to SpaceX and The Boring Company for judging. Behind the EPFLoop is a team of students of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The EPFLoop Pod has been qualified to advance through to the build phase where the team is currently constructing the innovative pod using Gurit’s lightweight materials. The competition will culminate on 21 July 2019 where the pods will be judged solely on one criteria, maximum speed with successful deceleration. Therefore minimising weight is a crucial success factor. This is where the benefits of advanced lightweight composite materials are significant.
Lorenzo Benedetti, Team Leader of EPFLoop states, “Since the first contact back in October 2018, Gurit has been a strategic partner of the EPFLoop team. In a constant research of performance, our engineering students strived to create a structure for the prototype which is capable of resisting extreme accelerations and intense vibrations and, still, being the lightest possible. We had a very fruitful discussion with Gurit’s engineers, in particular Luke McEwen. Together, we analysed step by step our structure and optimised the use of the prepreg carbon fibre material. The products identified as suitable for our case were the biaxial prepregs XC411 and RC200, whereas for the sandwich construction the M80 and M200 foams. After the design review, the final prototype structure reduced substantially its weight, down to one third from the EPFLoop prototype of 2018, while maintaining the safety level required by SpaceX.”
The EPFLoop team has been ranked as one of the top three teams in the world in the 2018 competition. This team of enthusiastic and motivated engineers strives to push the boundaries in terms of innovative pod design and construction and gives a glimpse of what the future of transportation may look like. Gurit is delighted to be part of this effort.