The production of the bodywork and aerodynamic components is well on its way, which is a delight to many! This week, the three panels for the bottom plate went into the autoclave to cure. Holland Composites was kind enough to put our panels in their autoclave. The panels consist of lightweight aluminium honeycomb with skins on the top and bottom made from a mix of carbon fibre and Dyneema fibre that we got from DSM. In this way, we combine the best of both worlds with the strength of the carbon and toughness of the Dyneema in order to get both a stiff and robust undertray. The stiffness is important mainly so that it supports the side pod and other bodywork well whereas the tough Dyneema functions to protect the underside of the car from gravel and the curbstones on the racetrack. We produced the skins before bonding them to the core material in the autoclave, which for some of the newer team members meant their first practical experience with composites production. Because the bottom plate is flat, we laminated the skins on aluminium sheets that Plaatopmaatwinkel.nl provided for us.
The moulds for the main bodywork panels arrived Wednesday evening after a trip to Solicam, the company who produced them, to pick them up. An exciting moment after waiting a few weeks while the mill was chipping away. In the coming weeks, a part of the team will focus on preparing the moulds and laminating the carbon fibre body panels. We are laminating by hand, after which we apply pressure on the product using a vacuum bag, in order to draw out excess resin and consolidate the panel. We are using quite a lot of different materials for this process, and Bouwmeester Advanced Composites B.V. was kind enough to provide us with them. These body panels will really shape the car! Most of the body panels are not yet critical for testing since a lot of the testing will be done on a dyno or at low velocities. The bodywork serves mostly to protect the components in the car, and some parts create downforce in order to gain more cornering speed.
Stay tuned for more technical updates!