Sicomin provides epoxy resins for ENATA Aerospace flying car concept
Sicomin (Châteauneuf les Martigues, France) has announced that it provided epoxy resins for a flying car concept designed by graduates of the Royal College of Art (RCA, London, U.K.) Intelligent Mobility program and manufactured by ENATA Aerospace (Sharjah, U.A.E.).
The Antelope is a one-seat, carbon fiber, multi-rotor flying vehicle that demonstrates the ability to hover and tilt to achieve forward motion. ENATA Aerospace (Sharjah, UAE) was selected by the RCA graduates to build the ½ scale demonstrator. The company used ultra-light aerospace materials and techniques to meet the highest quality and tolerancing standards, and to keep the weight to a minimum. ENATA Aerospace’s interactive customer progress report system provided daily updates allowing the graduates to monitor the manufacturing process. Within the deadline of 60 days, ENATA Aerospace delivered the Antelope, which is 2.5 meters long, 1.5 meters wide and has a full carbon fiber frame with a body weight of 9 kilograms.
The company used its robotic milling capability to mill a set of 32 molds that were used to manufacture the car body. External surface sandwich panels were molded from low-density PEI foam and ultra-thin biax carbon fiber non-crimp fabric. This carbon fabric is built up from unidirectional layers at different orientations; using 2 to 3 layers of 30 grains, depending on the areas.
The internal structure is made up of sandwich panels using carbon fiber fabrics and a nomex honeycomb core material. All body panels were wet laminated, and vacuum consolidated using female molds to provide the optimum surface finish.
ENATA chose Sicomin’s advanced epoxy laminating systems for the structure of the Antelope, reportedly combining good mechanical performance with optimized processing characteristics. Epoxy resin is said to be significantly stronger than alternative resin types, has good fatigue performance and durability, and is proven to work well when combined with carbon fiber. Sicomin’s SR1700 epoxy system was selected, having been specially formulated for the production of high-performance composites such as aerospace applications. The system is said to have a very low viscosity at ambient temperature and can be used with various hardeners for the vacuum molding of small or large parts to optimize working time. It offers good 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,” says Olivier Nicolas, CEO of ENATA Aerospace. “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.”
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