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.