Once again, it looks like the automotive industry will be high on the agenda at JEC World 2016 in Paris, France, on 8–10 March, at a time when the quest to incorporate carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRPs) in mass-market vehicles seems to be building a head of steam.
Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) will receive an Innovation Award in the Automotive Exterior Parts category at the show for a multi-material boot lid concept. The boot lid, which features a TCA Ultra Lite sheet moulding compound (SMC) outer and a resin-transfer moulded (RTM) CFRP inner, weighs just 5.5 kg—13% lighter than a similar boot lid made from aluminium.
Meanwhile Huntsman Advanced Materials of Basel, Switzerland, will be showcasing a dynamic fluid compression moulding (DFCM) process that the company claims enables the production of structural parts of autoclave quality in cycle times of under one minute.
Those that contributed to the extensive use of CFRP on BMW’s 7 Series are also likely to use the show as platform to highlight their roles. Hexcel, for example, has revealed that its snap-curing epoxy-based carbon fibre prepreg is being used by the carmaker to reinforce the metal shell of the vehicle’s B-pillar.
Bigger announcements seem probable. Rumours from Munich suggest that a new 5 Series would feature a significant amount of CFRP, and Volkswagen (VW) of Wolfsburg is known to be keen on the material.
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