Human-powered vehicle speeds with composites help

The Human Power Team from The Netherlands was named winner of the 2012 World Human Powered Speed Challenge with a top speed of 128.5 kmh. The winning bicycled featured an aero-shell made with composites.

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At the 2012 World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Nevada, the Human Power Team from The Netherlands was named as winner after achieving a top speed of 128.5 kmh (80 mph). Their Velox2 bicycle did not contain an engine and was solely powered by human efforts. 

The team partnered with DSM Composites Resins (Schauffhausen, Switzerland) for the development of the Velox2 bicycle, taking full advantage of the material and design expertise of DSM Composite Resins to make a lightweight composite construction and optimize the shape for superior aerodynamics.

The shell of the Velox2 was constructed with DSM’s Palapreg ECO resin, which is 55 percent based on raw material from bio sources. In addition to the shell, the team used DSM’s Stanyl, a high-performance polyamide, instead of steel for rollers within the drive-train. This ensured not only a reduction in weight, but also minimized the friction between the different components.
During the first few days the safety attributes of the canopy were put to the test. A puncture while going nearly 120 km/h caused the rider lose control, swerve off the road and crashe into the surrounding desert. However, due to the ability of the shell to absorb the impact, the rider escaped unharmed while the bicycle was replaced.

Achieving a top speed of 128 kmh, the Human Power Team finally was named winner of the 2012 World Human Powered Speed Challenge, beating 17 other teams taking part across different categories. “This is a nice illustration of how we work with our customers so they can win in their markets”, says Robert Puyenbroek, CTO DSM Composite Resins. “We fully utilize novel resin technology and help our customers to develop lighter, faster and more reliable composite solutions.”

Link to Youtube video on Velox2 and Human Power Team:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=- vG1bzY4JUw&list=PL212ABEF6C1C2F A8E&index=2&feature=plpp_video