April 02, 2020

Germany Develops Renewable Composite Automotive Parts to Absorb Impact Impact Force

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Technology in Production (FICT) in Pfinztal, Germany, have developed a method for producing thermoplastic fiber-reinforced composites suitable for large vehicles. According to FICT, the materials produced in this way can be produced into new high-quality parts at the end of their lives through fragmentation, melting and reuse. The researchers also stated that the impact resistance of this material in car collisions is far better than that of existing materials. They said that the thermoplastic components reinforced by the fabric structure can absorb the impact force of the impact through the viscoelastic deformation of the base material without chipping.

Germany develops renewable composite automotive parts
Germany develops renewable composite automotive parts

Historically, automakers have used thermoset-based composites to produce such components. However, FICT believes that this traditional process is dangerous, except that it is difficult to use it effectively for mass production because the thermoset composite material will break into sharp fragments in the event of a collision. Not only that, thermoset materials are also more difficult to recycle. The engineers of FICT said that after the thermoplastic resin injection molding process, up to 100,000 parts per year can be produced, and the composite materials used can be completed in only one step. As proof, FICT's engineers produced a luggage compartment liner for the Porsche Carrera 4, claiming it weighs 50% less than the original aluminum parts.

In order to improve the collision behavior of the overall structure of the vehicle, FICT engineers also calculated the optimal fiber placement. According to FICT, the cost of thermoplastic base materials and T-RTM processing is 50% lower than that of thermoset structures.

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