IndyCar Structure Is the Ultimate Safety Enclosure
All IndyCar teams use the Dallara chassis, a composite structure designed to protect the driver during an impact. Vehicle components are also placed outside the driver's "tub" enclosure to avoid contact with the driver and minimize penetration potential. (Source: Dallara)
There is a huge difference in the way cars must be designed, versus the way that Indy race cars must be done. The race cars don't need to compete pricewise, and they don't need to be styled to sell, they don't need to have multiple models, and they don't need to fill multiple needs. In addition, race cars get more maintenance in any given week than most passenger cars see in a year.
My point is that if cost and meeting multiple needs were not considerations, passenger cars could be made a lot more like race cars. Totally different kinds of vehicles for totally different applications. You never see a "one size fits all" race car, and those highly specialized passenger cars that were mentioned all sell for prices a whole lot higher than the more common flavors.
How many different models of the composite passenger car could be made from one mold? And what would the production rate be?
And one very important concern is that corrosion of composites is a challenge, just ask the aircraft builders. Do any of those composite race cars ever get driven in that saturated salt solution that we have for several months of every year here in Michigan?
Actually, the aluminum (in the link I gave) is very much aimed at body-in-white, as that article clearly states. So is most of the composites research. Here's another, major cooperative effort that's definitely aimed at body-in-white: http://www.advanced-composites.co.uk/newsmain.html
Greg, I agree completely. What Detroit can do seems to eclipse what they want to do. I am a firm believer in composites used as structural materials. I also feel adhesives can and should (in some cases) replace fasteners. I have been involved with various adhesives for some years now and find it fascinating as to their capability. I know existing tooling is a real factor in every design decision but it seems to me safety should "rule the day" when contemplating a suitable design for automotive products. Just a thought.
It's just window dressing and doesn't include the actual body/chssis which will remain steel and the weight. Only a few expensive cars will have anything but steel as the major structure and that is what they want to rust away.
Notice they keep putting up CF, the most expensive, useless, least cost effective fiber around. Why?
I did my design in steel, alum as a study and I couldn't get the lightweight, safety, eff and low cost out of either vs medium tech composites.
The only reason I can find is big auto just doesn't want a full composite car as it would show how bad their steel ones are.
Same with EV's or they wouldn't have built them overweight, overpriced and overteched so they wouldn't be as cost effective as ICE's dispite their large eff, cost saving advantage if designed correctly.
My composite body/chassis is well under $2k each, equal or less than a steel one and mine only requires 10 units/yr to be profitable vs 50k or more for several yrs to make a steel one profitable because so expensive to set up the steel production line.
Actually, rust, as in steel, is on its way out for the big automakers. Big auto, as in GM and Ford, are partnering with carbon composite makers to fast-track the introduction of these materials into mainstream auto production. Here's a DN article on GM's partnership with Teijin: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=236756 And here's one from elsewhere on Ford partnering with Dow: http://corporate.ford.com/news-center/press-releases-detail/pr-ford-and-dow-team-up-to-bring-36330 They're also expected to use a lot more aluminum in the next few years for lightweighting: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120612/OEM01/120619972
Nadine, you mean cars haven't improved? Sorry but cars are lightyrs ahead of where they use to be safety wise.
Only a few composite vehicles on the road now but few can afford them as over $250k and up like Ferrari, McLaren top of the line sportcars.
My own all composite EV sportswagon design uses the same methods as F-1 uses plus many others to give excellent protection in a 235lb body/chassis, 40% of a steel car's weight with better protection in many ways, some patentable.
The main problem in the F1 design is the G forces on the body while strapped in because just not enough crush zone to lower them.
Sadly the most important safety feature they have is the seat, seatbelt which wasn't even mention. No one part makes safety as it has to be designed as a whole system.
You won't find such composite chassis anytime soon for cars because big auto just doesn't want anything that doesn't rust away.
If they did switch to medium tech composites a SUV with them and a battery dominated hydrid drivetrain with great aero could get 50-70mpg.
A lot of thought and expertise went into analyzing these different failure modes and their subsequent safety countermeasures. I also would like to see this technology find its way into the general market.
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