Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lightweight construction materials: Suitable for car wheels?

Date:
October 2, 2010
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Are lightweight construction materials suitable for extremely stressed and safety-relevant components such as car wheel? Tests and calculations show that fiber-reinforced plastics are highly damage-tolerant and distinctly superior to aluminum in car wheels. Researchers have already produced a prototype lightweight wheel.

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

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.

Related Articles


"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).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Lightweight construction materials: Suitable for car wheels?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928135051.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2010, October 2). Lightweight construction materials: Suitable for car wheels?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928135051.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Lightweight construction materials: Suitable for car wheels?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100928135051.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins