SMCs are a cost-effective and lighter alternative to metals and more resistant to corrosion. They not only help make nicer cars, but most importantly, lighter ones – reducing fuel consumption, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Together with improved engine systems, these materials can contribute to meeting EU regulations concerning emissions, and to reducing the impact of modern transport on the environment.
“These composites are starting to be used more widely as a replacement for steel in automotive body panel applications,” says Véronique Michaud from main project participant the Polymer and Composite Technology Laboratory in Lausanne. “They suffer, however, from major drawbacks in terms of reliability, of surface appearance and performance. Simply stated, it is extremely difficult to obtain, in a reliable manner, a surface quality that matches that of steel, especially after the painting operation.”
The goal of the SURFAS project was to investigate problems of surface quality in SMC composites. Partners identified the presence of surface craters or pits on composite parts. “At that point, nobody knew why these craters appeared,” explains Michaud, “so a main goal was to understand what was happening, at all stages of the process, from fibre production and the deposition of the sizing layer to compounding of the composite pre-product, up to the final processing of the part. From there we hoped to make proposals on how to modify either the base material or the process to better control surface quality.” The project delivered an array of important scientific results. Partners gained a better understanding of the role of fibre sizing and over-sizing on the fibre assembly surface and how parameters such as energy, permeability and rigidity, affect final product quality. They also investigated the exact mechanisms of the so-called ‘low profile effect’, where a blend of thermoplastic and thermoset resin is used to improve the final surface quality.
Dr. Michel Arpin works for SURFAS industrial partner Vetrotex International and says the project was an excellent opportunity to investigate a technical issue from a more scientific perspective. “The direct outcome for our company is two-fold,” he says. ”First, we are now better armed to develop new products in this or similar domains of application, thanks to all the technical knowledge that we gained. This project has helped us to point out clearly how complex the materials-process-performance interaction is with this type of composite material.”
“EUREKA gave us the opportunity to cooperate on a European level,” adds Michaud, “without the heavy administrative constraints of a typical European project. All partners could deal with their local funding agencies, with whom they were already familiar and who reacted quickly and remained closely involved in project progress.”
Sally Horspool | alfa
When your car knows how you feel
20.12.2017 | FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Did you know how many parts of your car require infrared heat?
23.10.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy