Maturing Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Technology for Automobile Body Structural Applications 1999-01-3244
With the increasing emphasis on fuel efficiency and environmentally friendly vehicles, much effort is being directed by the auto industry to develop efficient, lightweight and alternative-powered vehicles. One of the ongoing research programs at DaimlerChrysler's Liberty and Technical Affairs is not only aimed at reducing the overall weight of the automobile body structure, but also reducing the cost of manufacturing it. In addition, an automobile body structure needs to meet the requirements of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), durability, crashworthiness and recyclability.
The objective of this paper is to provide a review of the ongoing research and development activities leading to an automobile body structure that meets the above objectives. The paper highlights the many different technology development challenges faced during the process. Discussions of the choice of material systems, injection molding of very large body structural panels using these material systems, their applications to different products, cost implications and supplier issues are included in this paper.