Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improved Performance thanks to Reduced Weight

24.07.2017

Scientists of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE in Chemnitz develop a Lightweight Wheel for more Safety and Comfort on the Road

Researchers of the Federal Cluster of Excellence “MERGE: Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures” at Chemnitz University of Technology and their partners from the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU) have created a successful lightweight design with immense importance for tomorrow’s automotive construction:


Alexander Hackert (on the left) and Tristan Timmel with the novel lightweight wheel.

Photo: Chemnitz University of Technology/Rico Welzel

They were able to reduce the weight of a car wheel by more than 50% through the use of novel materials and structures. Compared to a conventional steel wheel of about 6.8 kg, the novel lightweight wheel weighs only 3.02 kg. The three-part sandwich wheel rim consists of a core of aluminium foam and top layers made of thermoplastic fibre-plastic compounds.

This sandwich design takes advantage of the materials’ respective special properties. Such multi-material-designs are more and more frequently used in the automotive sector. Thus, not only the weight but also the emission of pollutants by motor vehicles can be reduced through combining novel processing technologies with smart material systems.

The combination of thermoplastic fibre-plastic-compounds with metal foams has great lightweight potential, especially for producing on a large scale, as the research fellow at the Cluster of Excellence MERGE Alexander Hackert points out: “Highly porous metal foams such as aluminium foam have excellent mechanical properties at a low density while at the same time they can potentially absorb a lot of energy. That is a contribution to driving comfort, especially when going round a turn in the road. Additionally, they have a distinct damage tolerance.”

The special compound at the core renders the wheel rim extremely stiff and light at the same time. The outside surface of the aluminium foam core is very thin and closed, in order to provide the optimal interface to the carbon fibre-reinforced layers. In addition, there is a buffer layer with glass fibre reinforcing for the harmonisation of the difference in stiffness between the aluminium foam and the carbon fibre-reinforced layers.

“Through an immense increase in pressure when producing the part in a thermic pressing process the thermally induced residual stresses are basically locked in the component. This helps improve its performance, since the high-load areas of the wheel are already under preload”, Hackert explains.

By reducing the unsprung masses the scientists were also able to improve the driving characteristics. The vehicle becomes more agile and changes its behaviour: when the driver hits the brakes, it will stop much faster. “There are special norms and regulations for the application in real traffic, because the safety of all passengers as well as other road users must be guaranteed under all circumstances”, says Hackert.

“Even an unintended crossing onto the curb or going through a pothole must be manageable for such a wheel.” Extensive testing of the sandwich compound as well as complex simulations of the component have proven the construction principle to be adaptable to many other applications. “If we come up with a novel structure for a component we do not just want to make it different per se, but make it better”, as the engineer puts it.

Alexander Hackert’s team has already registered the design of the lightweight wheel as a utility model, and as a patent specification at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DE 20 2014 005 111 U1, DE 10 2014 009 180 A1). The wheel rim’s prototype combines all results from preliminary tests and component simulations and can now be used for the ongoing development up to the point of an actual mass-produced component.

“Our tests of the core compounds have shown the enormous potential of the wheel rim for an automotive application”, Hackert points out. He is more than optimistic that automobile manufacturers who apply alternative concepts such as electric or hydrogen drives will also will make use of the lightweight wheel made in Chemnitz for the development of novel mobility solutions.

The latest publications on sandwich compounds and the lightweight wheel:

Hackert, A.; Müller, S.; Kroll, L.: Leichtbau-Radscheibe aus Carbon-Aluschaum-Sandwich. Lightweight Design, Die Fachzeitschrift für den Leichtbau bewegter Massen 2017, Nr. 10, Issue 1, S. 10-15 DOI: 10.1007/s35725-016-0076-y

C.; Rybandt, S.; Hackert, A.; Drossel, W.: Sandwichbauteile aus Aluminiumschaumkern mit faserverstärkten Kunststoffdecklagen mit komplexer Geometrie - Querlenkerdemonstrator. Tagungsband 8. Landshuter Leichtbau-Colloquium 2017, Hochschule Landshut: Leichtbau grenzenlos, Landshut, 2017, S. 22-30 ISSN: ISBN: 978-3-9818439-0-3, ISBN: 3-9818439-0-8

Dipl.-Ing. Mario Steinebach | Technische Universität Chemnitz
Further information:
http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht Self-driving cars for country roads
07.05.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL

nachricht When your car knows how you feel
20.12.2017 | FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A quantum entanglement between two physically separated ultra-cold atomic clouds

17.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers control the properties of graphene transistors using pressure

17.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

XXL computed tomography: a new dimension in X-ray analysis

17.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>