Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wheel in a corset

29.09.2010
Just imagine your car suddenly comes to a halt on a quiet country road, and it's only four years old. This is not a pleasant thought. A breakdown is expensive.

Not to mention the safety risk to the occupants – because the breakdown was caused by the extremely light plastic wheels so highly praised by the car salesman. One of them has broken.


This wheel made of fiber-reinforced plastic is particularly light and exhibits high structural durability. Credit: Fraunhofer LBF

»Such a scenario must, of course, never happen in reality,« states Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Büter from the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF in Darmstadt. The experts there specialize in operational strength testing of plastics in general and plastic wheels in particular.

To create the fundamentals for the production of lightweight and yet safe and reliable components they launched the High-Strength Plastic Structures project in cooperation with five other Fraunhofer institutes. »The aim was to provide the conditions and the tools for the operationally reliable design of extremely light safety parts made of SMC (sheet molding compound) material which could be produced on an ongoing basis in medium to large volumes.

SMC is a fiber-reinforced composite material which mainly consists of inorganic constituents,« explains project manager Professor Büter. »Up to now SMC has only been used for secondary parts of the bodywork such as the bonnet or doors,« states Büter. »The purpose of our project was to clarify whether SMC is also suitable for safety-relevant primary parts.« SMC is superior to metal in several ways. It is not only lighter but also exhibits an excellent mass-to-strength ratio. What's more, it is cheap to produce in medium to large quantities.

But what are the material properties of SMC? How are the fibers oriented? What production methods are suitable for processing this material? Are there any air conclusions? What stresses and loadings can SMC car wheels withstand? The research scientists have looked into these and other questions. »On our test stands we have simulated for example how the wheels and suspension of a car behave on a rough road, in forward motion and reversing, and how long the components can endure these conditions,« states Andreas Büter, describing the tests conducted at the LBF. After three years of research work the scientists can now present the results. On conclusion of the project Büter highlighted an important finding: »If correctly processed, fiber-reinforced plastics are highly damage-tolerant and distinctly superior to aluminum wheels.«

And what happens now? In cooperation with the industry the researchers would like to create a wheel based on the developed prototype which can withstand high stresses and loadings. It would feature a local reinforcement of continuous fibers. »That would act like a supporting corset for the wheel,« the project manager adds, outlining his team's vision. A prototype of the lightweight wheel will be on display at the Composites Europe trade show from September 14 to 16 in Essen (Hall 12, Stand C33).

Andreas Bueter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Switched-on DNA
20.02.2017 | Arizona State University

nachricht Using a simple, scalable method, a material that can be used as a sensor is developed
15.02.2017 | University of the Basque Country

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>