1974-02-01

Corvette Plastic Progress Enters Third Decade 740979

This paper traces the more than 20-year history of fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) as the primary body material for the Chevrolet Corvette. Reasons for the original decision to use FRP are reviewed, followed by a discussion of the difficulties encountered in design, manufacturing techniques, and material compounding. These problems, and the solutions to them, include the progression from the original wet-mat material to low-profile systems. Sheet molded compounds (SMC) are discussed as non-low profile and low-profile applications. Unresolved production problems and outlined with a review of industry attention necessary to assure continued FRP application to Corvette body panels.This paper also discusses the design and application of flexible facias used on both front and rear-end bumper systems and the use of plastic as a bumper energy-managing system.

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