DUNA-USA Supports HyperLoop Research


With a top speed of 760 MPH the proposed HYPERLOOP bullet-capsule project connecting San Francisco to LA is expected to bring a 6-hour drive down to a much more attractive 35 minutes! 

As part of the development cycle of Hyperloop, founder and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk commissioned a college-level transportation competition that challenged a select group of schools known to fine-tune a large portion of the engineering hurdles faced by the project. 

University of Michigan College of Engineering students were quick to become involved in this revolutionary transportation project, and were part of a grouping of Universities known as the “OpenLoop Team”, competing against other school groupings. Each university in OpenLoop had a specialized role, with the University of Michigan being placed in charge of creating and producing a fuselage for the Hyperloop “pod”. 

Aerodynamics were of utmost important in this undertaking, as the entire project relies on a massive vacuum tube to propel a bullet-capsule from city to city. In support of this, DUNA-USA donated CORAFOAM® tooling board to the University to assist in mold making for the prototype fuselage.

The team started off by bonding several CORAFOAM® tooling boards together to form a close-to-net shape block. The stacks were then cut to the specific geometry shape on a CNC router. Once the desired shape was made, carbon fiber prepreg was layed-up onto the composite CORAFOAM® mold and cured to create the carbon fiber fuselage. 

Gregory Lazar, one of the team members said “It was great working with CORAFOAM® because of how easily the panels could be securely bonded to form a monolithic structure large enough to create our vehicle. The added benefit of CORAFOAM’s lightweight and affordability allowed us to carry out the fabrication in a timely and efficient manner.”

At the competition in January 2016, over one hundred collegiate teams entered their designs at the Design Weekend competition at Texas A&M. The teams were scored by judges who based the results on feasibility of design, technical ingenuity of design, robustness of design to a vacuum environment, and coherence of the design package. When it was all said and done, OpenLoop placed top 30 in the competition!

The University of Michigan since then has decided to enter the Design Weekend II competition as their own team, The Michigan HyperLoop Team. They will compete this summer, 2017, at SpaceX’s Hyperloop track in Hawthorne, CA with a new idea fully designed from scratch. The HyperLoop Team thoroughly enjoyed working with CORAFOAM® tooling board and is planning to use it to help design the new pod. For more information about The University of Michigan’s HyperLoop Team please visit: https://www.facebook.com/MichiganHyperloop/

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