Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Checking automotive surface quality

09.05.2007
Research stemming from recent EUREKA project E! 2373 SURFAS hopes to contribute to the increased use of Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC) composites in the automotive industry.

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
Further information:
http://www.eureka.be/surfas

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht The car of the future – sleeper cars and travelling offices too?
18.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

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

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>