Recycled and plant-based composites are being used in underhood components of the British Lola-Drayson B12/69EV race car, which will compete in the 2013 FIA Formula E World Championship Series.
Jointly developed by Lola Group and Drayson Racing Technologies, the 850HP B12/69EV prototope was designed and built to demonstrate the potential of sustainable technologies in the harsh and demanding environment of sports cars. It incorporates advances such as inductive charging, composite battery power, moveable aerodynamics, and electrical regenerative damping.
The Lola-Drayson B12/69EV prototype race car, which will compete in the all-electric FIA Formula E World Championship Series, uses recycled and plant-based composites in underhood components. (Source: Lola Cars International Ltd.)
Umeco, structural composite maker for aerospace and automotive applications, co-developed the recycled composites and flax-reinforced composites with two different sets of partners. For the recycled materials, the company worked with ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd. and WMG at the University of Warwick. ELG reclaimed end-of-life carbon fibers from Umeco's MTM49 epoxy prepreg and re-impregnated them with Umeco's MTM49 toughened epoxy resin.
WMG, Lola, and Umeco performed several tests to assess how the material's mechanical and impact properties stack up against the properties of the original virgin prepregs. The tests showed that there had been a minimal loss of strength from virgin prepreg, while fiber stiffness was similar.
Umeco's partners in co-developing the flax-reinforced composites were WMG and Composites Evolution Ltd. WMG conducted extensive research and testing, while Composites Evolution supplied the woven flax material. Umeco impregnated the flax-reinforced material with its MTM28 and MTM49 epoxy resins, developed originally for components that require high damage tolerance. Flax fibers were selected because their mechanical properties are similar to those of glass fibers, but their weight and environmental impact are much lower. Flax fibers also have extremely good insulating and vibration damping characteristics.
Lola has since manufactured parts for the B12/69EV using the recycled MTM49 product, as well as the MTM28/Biotex Flax and MTM49/Biotex Flax.
Yes, I was surprised recently to find out from a large distributor that the military is still prompting the purchase of tons of COTS parts. Not everything the military uses has to withstand 20 years of dusty desert winds.
You're right, Ann, COTS is still going strong for military items that don't have to last a couple decades. Many of the component manufacturers ran two lines, but the leaded line was a smaller volume and thus sold at a higher price. However, many other component manufacturers ditched their leaded line altogether when they shifted to lead-free components. There was a scramble for leftover leaded parts, but eventually, the military had to pay the higher rate for leaded components that have now become specialized (read expensive) products.
Dr Meredith, thanks for providing the information on what parts were constructed. Thanks also for the links to articles with more details. Unfortunately, since these require a fee, not many readers will be able to access the information. Is any of it available elsewhere, such as in a prepublication version?
Rob, many producers of board-level COTS products had a tough time making the shift if they were serving both military and industrial customers, They essentially had to run two different lines for the "same" product, in leaded and lead-free versions. Those serving only the military got to wait a bit longer, but were not out of the woods entirely, since the supply chain had already become global by then. The COTS movement is still going strong.
Yes, Ann, that R&D investment is often supported by cost-plus contracts that do not make cost a high priority. The COTS movement was gutted to some extent by RoHS. The military still gets a pass on leaded parts. Those parts are now priced at a premium since they have become specialized components. So the $200 hammer will be with us for some time.
The military definitely likes to save money when it comes to what they buy for soldiers. That's one major push that was behind the COTS movement several years ago and is still a prime driver of that ongoing trend. OTOH, although my $200 wrench remark was tongue-in-cheek, they can still afford more at the R&D end than is often the case in industry.
A little more information for you all in case you are interested.. we utilised recycled carbon prepreg to manufacture the damper hatch (the body work part just in front of the wind screen) and we used flax prepreg to manufacture the balance panels (an aero part just adjacent to the doors).
The only way we could use these materials on the car was by first proving that they are capable. Hence, I have been working on these materials at WMG for a while now to determine their static and dynamic properties. recycled carbon retains ~70 - 95 % of the properties of virgin material and flax is similar to glass. Some results have been published (see links) and others are due for publication over the summer - so watch this space.
Jerry, composite unibodies for commercial automotive manufacturing are being studied, but one of the main barriers holding that back, as well as one of the main barriers against composites in car manufacturing in general, is the processing: it still requires many manual steps and is not yet adapted enough to high-volume, highly automated commercial car production. R&D to solve this is going on in Japan, Europe and the US.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.