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Application of Composite Materials in Automotive Field

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Application of composite materials in automotive field

Energy saving and emission reduction is the main direction of product optimization in the automotive industry in recent years. Because of its excellent properties such as light weight and high strength, composite materials have become the main choice of automotive lightweight development. With the development of new material technology and the updating and iteration of manufacturing technology, composite materials are more and more widely used in the automotive field. Data from departments and agencies such as the US Department of Energy show that for every 10% reduction in the overall weight of the vehicle, fuel consumption can be reduced by 6%-8%, and emissions can be reduced by 5%-6%, which shows that automobile lightweight is an effective way to reduce fuel consumption and protect the environment.

Composite materials are the main components used in automobiles

The types of materials include carbon fiber reinforced polymer matrix composites, glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites, natural fiber (wood, bamboo) composites. Among them, the application of carbon fiber reinforced polymer matrix composite materials are sports car, roof, main bearing structure (fender, door, etc.), glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite materials are applied in the guide hood, bumper, body, chassis, doors, Windows, fenders, etc., natural fiber (wood, bamboo) composite materials are applied in the door panel, body, tail and so on.

Carbon fiber reinforced Polymer Matrix Composites (CFRP) for automotive applications.CFRTP

Carbon fiber composite materials have the advantages of higher lightweight effect, high structural load capacity, impact absorption resistance, and can realize the overall molding of large parts. The most used place on the car is the body, such as the hood, frame, roof frame and stiffeners, A/B/C/D columns and doors, spoilers, roof, fender and so on. FIG. 1 Material characteristics: The density of CFRP is about 1.6g/cm3, which is less than 1/4 of the density of steel. At the same time, CFRP has excellent mechanical properties, environmental weather resistance, dimensional stability, designability, high energy absorption efficiency and shock absorption, and the energy absorption capacity in collision is 4-5 times that of steel or aluminum, which is used for body structural components with good collision safety.

Glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites (GMT) for automotive use

Glass fiber felt reinforced thermoplastic composite refers to the thermoplastic resin as the matrix, glass fiber felt as the reinforced skeleton of novel, energy-saving, lightweight composite materials, mainly glass fiber reinforced PP, glass fiber reinforced PA66 or PA6, and a small amount of PBT, PPO materials, applied to non-bearing or sub-bearing structural parts. Mainly used for seat frame, bumper, instrument panel, engine cover, battery carrier, foot pedal, front end, floor, guard plate, rear door, roof, luggage carrier, sun visor, spare tire frame and other components. Figure 2, Figure 3. Material characteristics: The strength of GMT and hand paste polyester FRP products are similar, its density is 1.01-1.19g/cm, than thermoset FRP (1.8-2.0g/cm) smaller, therefore, it has higher specific strength, specific modulus, good fatigue resistance, damping damping model, high damage safety, corrosion resistance and other superior properties. The weight of the car door made of GMT material can be reduced from 26Kg to 15Kg, and the thickness of the back can be reduced, so that the car space can be increased, and the energy consumption is only 60%-80% of the steel products and 35%-50% of the aluminum products. Therefore, the car can save energy and reduce weight at the same time more safe and comfortable.

Natural fiber reinforced composite (NFRP) for automotive


Natural fiber reinforced composites generally use polyester or polypropylene as matrix resin, and use wood fiber, hemp fiber and other natural fibers (straw, bamboo, sugar cane, coconut shell, etc.) as reinforcement materials. Matrix resin is cheap, fiber raw materials from a wide range of sources, the price is very low, so natural fiber composite materials have other composite materials can not match the price advantage. Moreover, the specific strength of natural fiber composite materials is higher than that of glass fiber composite materials, and the use of natural fiber composite materials instead of glass fiber composite materials to manufacture auto parts can achieve 5% to 15% lightweight.

At present, developed countries have a lot of natural fiber reinforced composite materials research results applied to the automotive industry, has achieved quite good effect, especially the development of new natural fiber composite materials in recent years, higher fiber content, lower density, more excellent performance. The density of new lightweight natural fiber reinforced composite materials is generally less than 1 g/cm3, and the content of hemp fiber or bamboo fiber is as high as more than 60%, or even 70%.



Material characteristics: Natural fiber reinforced composite material has good energy absorption capacity, impact resistance and no brittle fracture, and is used to produce automotive door panels to improve the safety of automobiles, and it is more than 20% lighter than some traditional materials. Using semi-rigid polyurethane elastomer and hemp fiber composite material to produce automotive ceiling and other interior decoration, do not need to go through the felt process, compared with the traditional sandwich structure of the ceiling, the process is simple, high strength, weight reduction of more than 10%. Bamboo fiber composite material has good thermal insulation and sound absorption performance, which can effectively reduce noise when used in automotive interior decoration. Moreover, natural fiber reinforced composite materials have low or no combustion speed, good impact resistance, and can improve the safety of automobiles. (Source: Automotive Industry News)

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