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DSM and VeloX participate in World Human Powered Speed Challenge

News International-French

22 Jul 2014

With a new high-tech recumbent design using innovative DSM materials, the Human Power Team Delft-Amsterdam wants to beat its own world speed record of 133.78 km/h in 2013, and set a world hour record in 2014. 

Compared to last year’s VeloX3 recumbent, the new VeloX IV is greatly improved: 20% lower air resistance thanks to an even more aerodynamic shell shape, more efficient power transmission now that front-wheel drive is used rather than rear-wheel drive, extra air cooling to prevent rider overheating, and easier handling because the shell is detachable.

VeloX IV features DSM’s materials in four key areas; the shell is made from sustainable (styrene-free) Daron resin, the aerodynamic camera casing and air inlet are manufactured from Somos and the chain rollers are made from Stanyl, a high performance polyamide 46 that is lighter than steel and that, most importantly, reduces friction, resulting in lower resistance. This alone boosts VeloX IV’s speed by a kilometer an hour. The revolutionary bicycle chain is the result of successful co-creation by DSM and KMC, the chain cycle producer, together with NOC*NSF (the Dutch Olympic Committee/Dutch Sports Federation) and the Royal Dutch Cycling Union (KNWU).

Under the shell
The VeloX3 was a monocoque construction where the aerodynamic shell doubled as the recumbent’s supporting structure. Furthermore, as a single-piece shell it was extremely difficult for riders to get in and out of, their hatch was tiny and doubled as the only means of access for maintenance.

VeloX IV in contrast is a split shell; the hood and bodywork are separate and there is an internal supporting structure. This not only means riders access is massively improved, but fine-tuning and on the road repairs are far simpler. As structural support is no longer required the VeloX IV’s split shell is of a hybrid design: thinner and thus lighter.

Out with tradition
Traditionally, DSM’s resins were used in particular in glass fiber reinforced composite parts. “Projects like the VeloX record bike taught us a lot about how our materials work with carbon fibers,” Wegman says. “We subsequently use that knowledge for customers producing structural parts in high volumes, for instance in the automotive and wind energy sectors.” In these sectors, composite materials are increasingly preferred because of their limited weight, their high stiffness and their much greater design freedom than traditional materials like steel and aluminum.

3D Printing
A striking component of the VeloX IV is the slender camera mounted on the shell. The high-speed bike does not have a window, the rider uses two screens to view the road ahead. A protruding part like a camera may have a devastating effect on aerodynamics. However, it proved far from easy to produce the ideal shape offering minimal air resistance in a traditional manner. The same problem was encountered in designing the air inlet.

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