The Team

Human Power TeamThe Human Power Team is a student team co-operative between the Delft University of Technology and the VU University of Amsterdam, with the objective to design and build an aerodynamic recumbent that is meant to break the world speed record.

The team was founded in September 2010, and in September 2011 it obtained a European and student record with a speed of 129 km/h, and in September 2013 that new world record was placed at 133.78 km/h, both by the cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier. This happened at the yearly World Human Powered Speed Challenge event in Battle Mountain, Nevada, United States of America.

At this moment, the fourth team of students is preparing for the new world record attempt with a new high-tech recumbent: the VeloX IV. The technical part of the project is in the hands of the students from the TU. Just as important, is the guidance and training of the cyclists, which is in the hands of the VU students. This co-operation makes the Human Power Team a unique student team.

Production of the front wheel frame

It has been a few weeks now since we posted our last production blog. In the meantime a lot more has been produced! The front wheel frame has been made and it has been mounted as well! In the past days a few team members have been busy making the front wheel frame in the Dreamhall of the TU Delft. This happened in multiple phases.

First a foam core has been milled out of high density (structural) foam. This structural foam works as a good base to laminate the carbon fibres on.

Frame ProductionFrame Production

The next phase is to laminate on this core. This happens in two steps. First the aluminium inserts are being placed in the frame with carbon fibre (with this the whole frame is also covered in two layers of carbon). During this step the frame is attached to an alignment plate (photo) to keep the inserts in the right place. Eventually, to extract any excess resin the frame is wrapped tightly in peel ply. Then it has to harden.

Frame ProductionFrame Production

A day later, when the resin has hardened properly, the peel ply is being removed and the whole is sanded. After that two extra layers of carbon fibre are added to make the frame even stronger.

Frame ProductionFrame Production

To obtain maximum strength the frame needs to harden while all layers are pushed together firmly. Therefore, the frame is being placed in a tightly sealed plastic bag in which a vacuum is created. When the whole has hardened this results in a front wheel frame which is strong and light and which can endure a lot of human power. That way the cyclists can release all their power on this bicycle!

Frame ProductionFrame Production

The production of the front wheel frame was a success. The entire process went smoothly with no complications! In the mean time, the frame has already been assembled in the lower body of the bike (picture). In these coming weeks the remainder of the frame will be produced.

Keep following us to see how the VeloX IV is getting more and more shape!

 

How are our cyclists doing?

To begin with, it is time for an update about our female cyclist, because some things have changed in the past few weeks.

Unfortunately Irene has told us last week that, due to personal circumstances, she is not able to continue with her training to beat the world hour- and speed records for women.

christienfoto

Luckily we were able to find a replacement for her in that same week. Christien Veelenturf! She was born September 14 1988 in Schoonhoven. After years of horse-riding she traded her horse for a bicycle at age 18. Since then it has been hard to get her off her bike! Christien has taken part in various competitions during the past few years. Besides that she also explored the mountains by taking in part in La Marmotte, Trois Ballons and Dolomieten Marathon. Last winter she was active as a cross-country cyclist in the uniform of Restore. This summer she would have been standing at the start as Elite lady for Restore as well.

Christien joined the rider qualifications earlier this year and she was still very eager to ride the VeloX IV. During the rider qualifications she had shown us that she has good potential to break the records.

She has the motivation, but above all it is now time to train! She started immediately. It seems she has a talent for riding a recumbent, because she has made significant progress in the past week! In the meantime she cycled lots of kilometres already on her Raptobike. Because of this the team has gained some trust again in breaking the records for women (even though there was very little preparation time).

Christienligfiets1Christienligfiets2

Meanwhile Rik Houwers is still doing really well. Past Wednesday it was the first time he trained in the climate room of the VU of Amsterdam in order to let his body get used to the high temperatures that he has to endure in the VeloX IV during the record attempts. In the upcoming weeks he will be doing this more often. Soon Christien will also start with acclimatizing in the climate room.

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Keep following us to see how the cyclists are doing!

 

Safety Construction VeloX IV

After three weeks of hard work at DASML it was about time to return to our familiar workshop back at the Dreamhall of the TU Delft. A lot of machining and lay-up work still needed to be done for the vehicle. In the past two weeks the safety construction of the VeloX IV took centre stage in the production, let’s have a look at how it’s made

By safety construction is meant all parts that protect the driver during a crash. The driver’s safety is the main point of concern within the team, to us, it’s the most important part of the vehicle. Of course we’d like to break the world record, this means however that the bicycle has to achieve speeds in excess of 130 km/h. A couple of structural elements that protect the driver needed to be added to the VeloX IV in order to make sure that the vehicle can be driven safely at such speeds

First of all there’s the body of the vehicle, which, besides its aerodynamic function, serves as a protective shell surrounding the cyclist. In this year’s design the body is split horizontally, therefore the body on its own is not strong enough to provide sufficient protection for the driver. Besides, the top shell has to be removable so that the driver can enter and exit the vehicle. But what if this top shell would fly off during a crash? It is not an option to secure this top shell with bolts because the driver has to be able to get out very quickly in case of trouble. It’s exactly for this reason that the VeloX IV is built such that it is safe to drive, even when the top shell would not be on it.

Rik in de fiets!Schot

The bulkhead is probably the most important component of the safety construction of the VeloX IV. The bulkhead is an extremely stiff and strong plate that is mounted directly to the back of the driver. This two centimetre thick plate is covered with ultra-high modulus TeXtreme® fibres, in this way the weight is reduced and it looks awesome. All of this is necessary to protect the driver from heavy side-impacts. Most of all the bulkhead provides protection for the upper body of cyclist. A secondary bulkhead will be installed later on, this one will be situated below the driver.

Rollboog

Another crucial part of the safety construction is the rollbar (see picture above). This arch shaped structure is built for the sole purpose to protect the cyclist when the vehicle is sliding or rolling after the top shell would’ve come off. It will be fixed to the front wheel frame as well, making it capable of carrying a weight of over half a ton! TexTreme® fibres are applied here as well, strengthening the structure.

There are many more elements that will protect our driver in the VeloX IV, such as another rollbar near his or her head, shoulder protectors attached to the seat, a four-point seatbelt and of course a crash helmet. All of this will make sure that we are certain that we can put a safe vehicle at the starting line and that we can race it carefree towards a record!

In the meanwhile we are busy making the front wheel frame, it is near to completion. Keep following us and read more about it next week!

 

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