After six weeks of preparation and work, shell team has successfully made a new canopy for Impulse. The current plastic canopy added unnecessary weight and deflected when we opened it, so we wanted a new canopy made mostly of composite materials with a windshield for vision. Due to the high strength-to-weight ratio of composites, we were able to make a new canopy that is not only lighter, but also stiffer. Our first concern was that we wanted the outside of the canopy to be as smooth as possible for improved aerodynamics. Therefore, we couldn’t use our current plug, because this would only allow for a smooth interior. Instead, we performed a fiberglass layup to create a female mold of the canopy using the pre-existing plug, and from this we were able to perform a composites layup. The result? A smooth, light, strong (and pretty) carbon fiber canopy. The project was difficult, and we made lots of initial mistakes, but we learned from them, and it was a great experience for both old and new members to perform a successful, large-scale composites layup.
We’ll be forming the windshield and integrating the new canopy with Impulse soon, and then we’ll get Impulse repainted in preparation for ASC!