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Engineering Materials

EV Race Car Uses Green Composites Under the Hood

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Ann R. Thryft   5/21/2012 1:51:06 PM
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COTS is much more than components these days. It's expanded to also include systems, platforms, networking technologies, and software.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Rob Spiegel   5/21/2012 1:23:10 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Ann R. Thryft   5/21/2012 11:51:17 AM
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Rob, good point about COTS being best for high-volume, shorter-life products. Just like in the civilian sector.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Rob Spiegel   5/18/2012 12:54:16 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Ann R. Thryft   5/18/2012 12:39:11 PM
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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?

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Ann R. Thryft   5/18/2012 12:38:08 PM
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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.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Rob Spiegel   5/17/2012 4:08:19 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Ann R. Thryft   5/17/2012 3:53:03 PM
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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.

Dr James Meredith
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Dr James Meredith   5/17/2012 3:48:19 PM
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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.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0266353812000383

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026635381100385X

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Any possibility of commercial applicability?
Ann R. Thryft   5/17/2012 1:14:01 PM
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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.

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