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10-13-2020

Honeycomb Cores for Sustainable Concept Car

Car Made Entirely out of Recycled Materials

  • The Luca concept car was designed by students at Eindhoven University of Technology and built with the help of various partners (© Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie)

    The Luca concept car was designed by students at Eindhoven University of Technology and built with the help of various partners (© Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie)

  • The chassis of the light electric vehicle consists of recycled PET honeycomb cores (© TU/ecomotive)

    The chassis of the light electric vehicle consists of recycled PET honeycomb cores (© TU/ecomotive)

  • In keeping with the idea of lightweight construction, support structures in the seat area were also made of the light and stable composite material with honeycomb cores from EconCore (© TU/ecomotive)

    In keeping with the idea of lightweight construction, support structures in the seat area were also made of the light and stable composite material with honeycomb cores from EconCore (© TU/ecomotive)

  • The vehicle project was presented to the public on 8.10.2020 (© TU/ecomotive)

    The vehicle project was presented to the public on 8.10.2020 (© TU/ecomotive)

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EconCore N.V., Leuven/Belgium, is an major partner in an innovative project to build a car that will be manufactured entirely from recycled materials by the TU/ecomotive team at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Lightweight Electric Vehicle

The concept car is a lightweight, electric vehicle designed and built by students. The rationale behind the project is to demonstrate that waste can be a valuable resource, while gaining business, engineering and manufacturing skills and experience.

Wouter Winant, technical manager at EconCore said: “We’ve been involved with this project for the last four years now and each year our involvement has increased. We’re delighted to be supporting the TU/ecomotive team as we share similar values in terms of using technology to produce sustainable products and minimise waste. Through innovation, we can create much more sustainable solutions and the Luca car project demonstrates that in such a clever way.”

PET Honeycomb Cores from Recycled Material

More than 20m² of recycled PET honeycomb cores supplied by EconCore was used by the TU/ecomotive team in the design of Luca. The whole chassis was made using the honeycomb core material, along with other areas such as the seat support structure, parts of the dashboard and the battery housing. After lamination of the composite skins, the strong, lightweight panels were used in most of the structural parts of the car. In addition to supplying the material, EconCore also provided extensive technical advice and consulting services.

Winant continued: “The team asked for specific data and advice on how to optimally design and use the panels. We carried out tensile tests on the composite materials and three-point bending tests on small panel samples, with different core thicknesses and skin materials. The mechanical data from these tests provided the optimum design of sandwich panel with the right balance between sustainability, weight, strength and stiffness.”

Difficult Processing

One of the challenges the TU/ecomotive team had was gluing the recycled PET core to a composite sheet consisting of flax fibers and a recycled Polyolefin matrix contributed by other partners. These two materials do not work well together when using adhesive.

Technical advice was provided by EconCore to overcome this problem. A polyester non-woven fleece was used to cover the surface area of the honeycomb core. This is compatible with the adhesive and composite skin layers. A thin PET barrier film was used to ensure the adhesive glue did not flow through the fleece into the honeycomb cells, keeping the panel lightweight. All the materials were made of recycled PET, maintaining the aim of using recycled materials in a circular economy.

Winant concluded: “What’s apparent to us, now the project is complete, is how the Luca car demonstrates just how versatile the recycled PET honeycomb core panels are, with the potential range of applications it can be used for. Not just in automotive terms but in other industrial and consumer applications where strength, rigidity and light-weight are such important characteristics. The potential is huge.”

For further information about using rPET with EconCore’s honeycomb technology visit www.econcore.com

Additional information
  • 09-17-2020

    Biopolymer-Based Films for Food Packaging

    Joint Research Project of Fraunhofer IMWS and Polifilm Extrusion

    In the project, the specialists rely on chitosan coatings to increase the resistance of food to microbiological impacts.   more

  • 07-21-2020

    Recycling of Polyurethane

    Project RePURpose Develops New Method

    Together with partners, the Danish polyurethane manufacturer Tinby has launched a project that aims to create a completely new recycling economy for polyurethane.   more

  • 06-25-2020

    Ocean Plastics May Buoy Europe R-PET Market

    Asian Suppliers Help to Meet the Quotas

    In view of the increasing demand and marketing advantages, plastics from the sea are also becoming increasingly interesting for the European market.   more

Company profile

EconCore N.V.

Ambachtenlaan 25
BE 3001 LEUVEN
Tel.: +32 16 381060

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