1995-02-01

Thermal and Environmental Characterization of Composite Materials for Future Automotive Applications 950990

Structural composite materials offer automotive engineers an excellent opportunity to produce automotive components that achieve weight savings, improved NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) and inherent corrosion protection. Components designed and fabricated from automotive structural composite systems have demonstrated these capabilities during laboratory and in-service durability testing.
Components evaluated to date have been employed in areas of the vehicle not likely to encounter high temperatures and with controlled exposure to harsh environments. More extensive use of structural composites will demand that future structural components be located in areas where they will likely encounter a wider range of temperature extremes as well as increased exposure to various environmental and automotive fluids.
A thorough understanding of material performance at elevated and depressed temperatures for automotive composite systems is required to design components that will function in a predictable and reliable manner over the wide variety of operating conditions encountered by a typical automobile. This paper details the testing methods and equipment being used to develop performance data for automotive structural composite materials at elevated and depressed temperatures and in the presence of various representative automotive fluids. Performance data is presented for two resins and one “E” glass composite system.

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