The world’s largest body of a truck semi-trailer
Fourteen Meter Long Monocoque in a Single Shot
The Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) in Aachen, Germany, together with a European consortium of companies has developed the world’s largest body of a truck semi-trailer. The part of monocoque design is made from 600 kg glass-fiber-reinforced CBT (Cyclic Butylene Terephthalate) and was produced in a single shot.
Until now thermoplastic fiber composites could only be processed to form large components without sacrificing the mechanical properties at great effort and expense. Thanks to the use of the in-situ polymerizing CBT (manufacturer: Cyclics Europe GmbH, Schwarzheide, Germany), the 13.6 m long body of the trailer can be produced completely from one thermoplastic and can be later recycled.
CBT is characterized by a very low melt viscosity and thus enables liquid impregnation methods to be employed. High fiber volume contents of 60 % can therefore also be processed and large parts produced. After impregnation of the reinforcing fibers, the material reacts to form a thermoplastic polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). Since CBT as matrix system is solid at room temperature, the workplace is clean and emission-free. The construction of the body and the choice of material allow savings in weight of over 15 %, an aerodynamically optimized design, a reduction in the required tractor power of more than 20 % and fuel savings of around 10 %. In addition, a higher payload can be achieved and the CO2 emissions significantly reduced.
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