A brake pedal assembly was selected to demonstrate feasibility of achieving significant weight saving through the use of continuous-fiber-reinforced composites. The assembly was designed to (a) meet or exceed the strength and stiffness of steel, (b) have a noncatastrophic failure mode, and (c) have potential for high-volume production. The pedal blade was formed from a hollow graphite/epoxy tube in a matched die mold.
Mechanical testing of assemblies showed strength and stiffness exceeding the steel design. On overload, the blade had a desirable failure mode, with progressive ply-by-ply fracture rather than complete brittle fracture. The graphite/epoxy part exceeded all specifications of the steel counterpart at a weight saving of over 50 percent.