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First flight for student team’s drone in Austria

Hexcel materials enabled the team to reduce the composite structural mass by an impressive 42% compared to similar drones.

8th July 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Austria


A lightweight camera drone developed using Hexcel’s HexPly carbon fibre prepregs by students from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria in Wels has successfully carried out it maiden flight.

A team of six students on 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% compared to similar drones.

Hexcel Neumarkt in Austria was one of eight industrial partners supporting the team throughout the project, providing all of the carbon fibre prepreg materials used for its 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 using Hexcel HexPly M901 and HexPly M78.1 prepreg resin systems with a combination of woven and unidirectional carbon fibre reinforcements.

“The massive weight saving achieved with the 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 composite techniques present in the drone sector but also the opportunities that exist for further development in the wider urban air mobility and aerospace composites markets.”

Hexcel manufactures a complete range of carbon fibres, dry carbon UD tapes, speciality reinforcements, prepregs and honeycomb core materials, providing customised manufacturing options for new urban air mobility applications that combine aerospace reliability with the high-rate production required.

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