Home / News / Camera drone made with US company Hexcel’s C fibre prepregs takes off

Camera drone made with US company Hexcel's C fibre prepregs takes off

Jul '21
Pic: Hexcel
Pic: Hexcel
A lightweight camera drone, developed using Hexcel HexPly carbon fibre prepregs, has successfully made its maiden flight. The composite drone was developed by students from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in Wels with composite materials supplied by Hexcel Neumarkt in Austria. Hexcel is a leader in advanced composites technologies.

A team of six students in the university’s lightweight construction and composite materials course was responsible for the complete design, engineering, and manufacture of the camera drone over a period of 18 months. Hexcel materials and optimisation of the composite engineering enabled the team to reduce the composite structural mass by an impressive 42 per cent compared to similar drones.

Hexcel Neumarkt was one of eight industrial partners supporting the university team throughout the project, providing all carbon fibre prepreg materials used for the drone’s landing gear as well as the fuselage.

The ultra-lightweight 32g landing gear was laid up and cured in the press, whereas the fuselage was autoclave cured by the student team using Hexcel HexPly M901 and HexPly M78.1 prepreg resin systems with a combination of woven and unidirectional carbon fibre reinforcements.

With the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as a key emerging market and innovation space in the transportation sector, Hexcel’s collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria team not only creates an important link with the next generation of lightweight composite engineers but also highlights the weight saving and structural benefits of Hexcel composite material solutions.

"The massive weight saving achieved with their updated version of the camera drone is a fantastic achievement by the student team," said Michael Rabl, dean of FH Wels of the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences. "The joint study not only illustrates the wide range of complex and innovative composite techniques present in the drone sector but also presents the opportunities that exist for further development in the wider Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and aerospace composites markets.”

Johanna Arndt, research and technology group leader at Hexcel Neumarkt, said, “It was a great pleasure to work with the team who were very cooperative and self-motivated to succeed. Watching the drone just fly around the Neumarkt plant was just great.”

Hexcel manufactures a complete range of carbon fibres, dry carbon UD tapes, specialty reinforcements, prepregs, and honeycomb core materials, providing customised manufacturing options for new UAM applications that combine aerospace reliability with the high-rate production required. Hexcel composite materials are the ideal solution for the lightest and most efficient cost competitive transportation vehicles of the future.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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