Design and Fabrication of Automotive Components in Graphite Fiber-Reinforced Composites
The design, finite element analysis and fabrication of graphite fiber reinforced plastic (GrFRP) for the body of the 1979 Ford LTD concept vehicle is described in Part I. One-hundred and four (104) steel body-in-white parts, weighing 423 lbs., were replaced by forty-one (41) GrFRP parts, weighing 160 lbs., for a 62% reduction in weight. The floor and body side panels represent some of the largest and most complex GrFRP automotive parts produced to date. The methodology and analysis used in developing the graphite composite lay-up design of the front end for the concept vehicle is outlined in Part II. This assembly of GrFRP components weighs 30 lbs., compared with 95 lbs. for the steel counterparts, and represents a 68% weight reduction.