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The Use of Nano Composites in Automotive Applications

With their high specific strength and stiffness, composites have the potential to significantly lower the vehicle weight, which can have a dramatic effect on improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For the past decade or so, composites have been experiencing several transitions, including the transition from micro-scale reinforcement fillers to nano-scale reinforcement fillers, resulting in the nanocomposite. The effectiveness of the nano-sized fillers in composites can be explained by one of their unique geometric properties: the length-to-thickness aspect ratio. Therefore, nano-sized fillers have exceptionally higher reinforcing efficiency than the conventional, large fillers. The effectiveness of the nano-sized fillers in composites is also due to their large surface area and surface energy.

Biocomposites in Automotive Applications

The automotive sector has taken a keen interest in lightweighting as new required performance standards for fuel economy come into place. This strategy includes parts consolidation, design optimization, and material substitution, with sustainable polymers playing a major role in reducing a vehicle’s weight. Sustainable polymers are largely biodegradable, biocompatible, and sourced from renewable plant and agricultural stocks. A facile way to enhance their properties, so they can indeed replace the ones made from fossil fuels, is by reinforcing them with fibers to make composites. Natural fibers are gaining more acceptance in the industry due to their renewable nature, low cost, low density, low energy consumption, high specific strength and stiffness, CO2 sequestration potential, biodegradability, and less wear imposed on machinery. Biocomposites then become a very feasible way to help address the fuel consumption challenge ahead of us.

Design of Automotive Composites

Design of Automotive Composites reports that successful designs of automotive composites occurred recently in this arena. The chapters consist of eleven technical papers selected from the Automotive Composites and other relevant sessions that the editors have been organizing for the SAE International World Congress over the past five years. The book is divided into four sections: o Body Structures o Powertrain Components o Suspension Components o Electrical and Alternative Vehicle Components The composite design examples presented in Design of Automotive Composites come from the major OEMs and top-tier suppliers and are most relevant to the automotive materials challenges currently faced by the industry. Many of the innovative ideas have already been implemented on existing or new model vehicles, although a great deal of innovation is still in the works.