REINFORCED COMPOSITES IN AUTOMOBILE STRUCTURES

High-performance composites have outstanding potential for structural components of lighter weight. For the near future, compression moulding of high concentrations (50-60%) of random or continuous oriented glassfibre in a thermoset polyester or vinyl ester matrix offer great promise for mass production. Filament winding and pultrusion also show promise. Unidirectional glassfibre composites have a somewhat lower specific modulus than steel but many times the specific strength. Consequently, the justification for substituting unidirectional glassfibre composites for structural steel components often reduces to the questions whether (a) the function is to provide primarily stiffness or strength and (b) isotropic or anisotropic behaviour is required. For flexure of a solid beam, as in leaf springs, unidirectional fibre composites can achieve stiffness as well as load-bearing capacity comparable to steel. Plying of graphite over glassfibre cores provides additional opportunity for optimizing stiffness of solid hybrid beams. Most structures are in the form of hollow beams; on a strength basis, oriented glassfibre composites can readily act as substitutes for steel; but, on a stiffness basis, only by making the cross-section deeper is there an opportunity for saving weight. Fatigue failure often represents a serious obstacle to part endurance. Fatigue strength depends strongly on fibre orientation and concentration but glassfibre composites generally exhibit good fatigue strength and are relatively insensitive to environmental conditions and notch treatment. /Author/TRRL/

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Petegrinus (Peter) Limited

    P.O. Box 8, Southgate House
    Stevenage SG1 1HQ, Hertfordshire,   England 
  • Authors:
    • NEWMAN, S
  • Publication Date: 1978-5

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00182690
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 3 1978 12:00AM