Carbon/Flax Hybrid Automotive Door
Featuring Biotex Flax
At this year's JEC World in Paris a door for a hydrogen powered car, constructed using Composites Evolution’s Biotex Flax was on display. The door panel, developed by NetComposites, KS Composites and Riversimple for the Rasa hydrogen fuel cell car, has been built using a novel carbon/flax hybrid micro-sandwich which combines the mechanical benefits of carbon with the added advantages of reduced weight, cost, NVH and environmental impact of flax.
The need to reduce weight to improve vehicle efficiency and range is leading to the adoption of carbon fiber, which is relatively expensive, energy/CO2 intensive, and can cause noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) issues. In addition to reducing overall part cost, the inclusion of flax improves vibration dampening performance, reduces part weight, and reduces environmental impact compared to carbon fiber alone.
In the layered hybrid approach, 1 or more layers of carbon fiber are replaced with Composites Evolution’s Biotex Flax to create multi-layer, micro-sandwich structures with equal bending stiffness to all-carbon laminates, but with reduced cost, reduced weight, increased shock absorption and improved environmental impact.
Brendon Weager, Technical Director at Composites Evolution, explains “The Riversimple Rasa door panel demonstrates the great technical, economic and environmental benefits of the flax/carbon hybrid composites. This lightweight materials technology fits well with the ethos of Riversimple and zero emission vehicles as a whole. We fully expect this technology to be rolled out to a wider range of components in the near future.”
The Project research and development activities have been supported through grant funding provided by the Niche Vehicle Network, a free to join networking and support organization focused on enabling UK low volume vehicle manufacturers and design and engineering companies to research and develop innovative low carbon vehicle technologies.
Composites Evolution Ltd.
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