From basic organic materials such as adobe mud bricks to complex composite materials such as fiberglass reinforced panels, in the last centuries, composite materials evolved rapidly, and nowadays, a life without composite materials would be unimaginable.
One such evolution is the development of advanced reinforcements and fabrics used in Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composites. In the last ten or twenty years, great advancements have been developed in fiber type and properties. Additionally, novel developments have been developed in fiber architecture and proprietary weaving techniques.
These advancements allow for traditional materials such as steel and aluminum to be replaced with fiber reinforced composites. One industry which is beginning to adopt this transition of materials is the automotive industry.
Composite materials in automotive
Eco-friendliness, safety and fuel-saving are key to modern day vehicle production. Traditional heavy materials like steel do not contribute to this goal. Therefore, the incorporation of light weight composite materials in vehicles, such as fiberglass fabrics, is becoming a common design practice for reducing vehicle weight and achieving fuel saving.
For example, the U.S. Army uses Parabeam ® 3D Glass Fabrics for its MATV defense vehicles, specially designed for moving around in the rugged terrains of Afghanistan. By using Parabeam®, designers have achieved a significant weight reduction of 75% of critical exposed parts of the MATV.
The characteristics of Parabeam fiberglass highly contribute to building lighter vehicles, thus reducing fuel consumption, with a positive effect on CO2 emissions. Parabeam’s engineered fabrics, specifically tailored to the required application. Also, its drape-ability significantly enhances its design freedom which makes the creation of complex shapes easier then before.
The 'Weez' by Eon Motors With its body fully built with Parabeam® 3D Glass Fabrics, Weez is an innovative lightweight vehicle, ready for the future. It's 4 wheel-drive in-wheel motors provide max power and max torque, and has a regenerative breaking feature for battery saving. Its lightweight qualities and electrically powered engine make it a environment-friendly vehicle.
Glasfiber Composite Prototype Strength of Fiberglass
The strength of the sandwich composite material largely depends on two factors:
1. The outer skins
If the sandwich is supported on both sides, and then stressed by means of a force in the middle of the beam, then the bending moment will introduce shear forces in the material. The shear forces results in the bottom skin being in tension and the top skin being in compression.
The core material spaces these two skins apart. The thicker the core material, the stronger the composite. This principle works in much the same way as an I-beam does.
2. The interface between the core and the skin
Because the shear stresses in the composite material changes rapidly between the core and the skin, the adhesive layer also sees some degree of shear force. If the adhesive bond between the two layers is too weak, the most probable result will be delamination.
With Parabeam®, the core and decklayers are woven together thus forming an integral sandwich structure that cannot delaminate. When the Parabeam® is impregnated with a thermoset resin, the fabric absorbs the resin and due to the capillary forces of the piles (core), the fiberglass fabric rises to the preset height.
In this one-step process a lightweight and strong sandwich fiberglass panel is formed that offers excellent mechanical properties. This process is also explained in our animated video about how to process Parabeam 3D Glass Fabrics.
About the Author
Parabeam B.V. is a leading fiberglass manufacturer. Parabeam® 3D Glass Fabrics serves as the basic material to create fiberglass panels and sheets. In 2002, Parabeam was acquired by ZCL Composites, a Canadian leader in the design and manufacturer of fiberglass storage tank products.