DEC 2018


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DECEMBER 2018 44 CompositesWorld FOCUS ON DESIGN Hybrid thermoplastics give load floor impact strength Project leads to development of new compression process for selective application of D-LFT on UD tape laminates. » An ambitious multi-year program by Germany's System inte- grated Multi-Material Lightweight Design for E-mobility (SMiLE) consortium has developed a demonstrator automotive load •oor module that is part of a larger hybrid body-in-white (BIW) struc- ture; it shows great promise for use of composites and metals in a hypothetical medium-volume production environment. €is battery-electric vehicle's (BEV) rear load •oor is comprised of two types of thermoplastic composite, plus metallic pro„les and inserts. It functions as the •oor of the trunk and rear passenger compart- ment. In turn, it's adhesively and mechanically joined to a second, hybrid thermoset composite load •oor, which is resin transfer molded (RTM) from carbon „ber-reinforced epoxy with metallic inserts and local sandwich structures containing polyurethane- foam cores. €is structure is the •oor for the front half of the vehicle and holds its batteries. €e complete load •oor module is bonded and screwed to aluminum rockers/side rails, which are themselves bolted to crossbeams on the vehicle's aluminum monocoque. €e entire load •oor module demonstrator was designed to reduce mass and provide signi„cant crash-energy absorption for a series- production vehicle with build volumes of 300 cars/day. Design decisions Consortium members who worked on the rear load •oor included automakers Audi AG (Ingolstadt, Germany—also leader of the entire SMiLE program) and Audi owner Volkswagen AG (Wolfs- burg, Germany); Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's Institute of Vehicle System Technology (KIT-FAST, Karlsruhe, Germany); Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (F-ICT, P„nztal, Germany, leader for both front and rear load •oor projects), and Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials (F-IWM, Freiburg, Germany); thermoplastic composites supplier BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany); machinery OEM Die˜enbacher GmbH Maschinen- und Anlagenbau (Eppingen, Germany), and tool- maker/molder Frimo Group GmbH (Lotte, Germany). Lighter battery- electric vehicle structures A multiyear, publicly funded research program called System integrated Multi-Material Lightweight Design for E-mobility (SMiLE) took a holistic approach to reducing mass and costs for the entire body-in-white structure (shown here) of a battery-electric vehicle by applying combinations of composites and non-ferrous metals. Some of the F-ICT members who participated in the project are (left to right): Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Baumgärtner, project leader for hybrid thermoplastic floor modules; Tobias Link, research engineer; Prof. Dr. Frank Henning, deputy head of F-ICT; and Felix Behnisch, project leader for thermoset floor modules. Source | Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology. By Peggy Malnati / Contributing Writer

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