September 16, 2015
Cross beam and high pressure tank in one
In a joint effort, TEUFELBERGER and the Magna Powertrain Engineering Center in St. Valentin developed a vehicle cross beam made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) which, featuring a lighter weight than previous designs, is also capable of performing an additional function.
A truck chassis frame consists of two longitudinal beams linked to one another by several cross beams which, conventionally, used to be made from steel. Said cross beams are exposed to high loads. Through their rigidity, they have a significant impact on vehicle handling and comfort
To reduce weight and, consequently, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, the cross beam was developed as a composite/metal hybrid structure. What makes it so special is that the cross beam allows the integration of an additional high pressure tank, for example for compressed natural gas. This way, weight is saved on two fronts. A fiber winding process combined with a braiding process, the integration of metal force transmission elements by using T-IGEL® technology, and consolidation through an RTM process yielded ideal properties for the absorption of the internal pressure and the forces in the vehicle chassis frame.
Aiming for use in series production
“In this component, we have succeeded in functionally combining our core technologies Braiding and Winding as well as our T-IGEL® metal-to-composite connection: a major step forward toward technology leadership in hybrid lightweight design. We aim to further develop this function demonstrator together with our development partner Magna Powertrain ECS and a lead OEM for application in series production”, says Herwig Kirchberger from TEUFELBERGER. Helmut Dannerbauer from the Engineering Center also shows great enthusiasm saying, “the transition between steel with isotropic properties and anisotropic CFRP posed a big challenge for us. In this case, there exist far more possibilities for improvement, such as layer structure or fiber directions. The technology for connections to metals constitutes yet another challenge”; and he goes on adding, “the experience gained in the application of new materials is precious to us. We have now mastered the entire development process, from the concept phase to design, layer definition, strength evaluation with the in-house software “FEMFAT laminate”, and through to production and the necessary testing.