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A carbon fibres composite struts for mass production

News International-French

3 Nov 2014

Mercedes-Benz develops a CFRP struts that can be produced cost-effectively in large volumes for the first time, thus opening up new possibilities in the field of lightweight construction.

All vehicle designers aim to produce a vehicle body that is as stiff as possible, since having a stiff body shell as a basis allows dynamic handling and also helps to minimise vibrations and noise. Fibre composites, particularly those that include carbon fibres, are ideal for ensuring maximum stiffness with minimum weight. Until now high costs have prevented their widespread use in vehicles.

However, a Mercedes-Benz innovation allows automatic, low-waste and therefore, cost-effective production of ultra-stiff and extremely light CFRP struts, making mass production possible. Mercedes-Benz received a Materialica "Gold Awards" for this innovation in the category "Material".

The core of this innovation is the combination of several components: carbon-fibre layers provide maximum stiffness and additional outer layers, applied at different angles ensure high pressure resistance. A third component, which was developed by Mercedes-Benz; are the innovative force elements which transfer all loads safely to the CFRP struts.

The results are extremely lightweight struts that are up to 70 percent lighter than standard steel struts. The lighter weight also helps to reduce fuel consumption. The CO2 break-even point (i.e. the distance the more fuel-efficient vehicle has to travel before the increased amount of CO2 used to produce the carbon fibre components is saved) is only approximately 50,000 kilometres. Furthermore, this Mercedes-Benz innovation allows a production process for more than 300,000 vehicles per year.

The award ceremony took place during the Materialica trade fair, 21 – 23, October 2014, in Munich, Germany.

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