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Technical Paper

A Thermoplastic Approach to a Composite Automotive Body

This paper will provide an overview of the need, requirements, and constraints governing the development and application of polymer composites in automotive body components. It will discuss the efforts underway to lead and support the technology developments required for the cost-effective application of these new materials in mass-produced vehicles. The requirements and constraints of customer-driven, mass-produced, energy-efficient vehicles with uncompromised cost, capacity and performance, drive careful consideration of an injection-molded thermoplastic approach to a composite automotive body. Recent progress with this approach will be reported and some next steps examined.
Technical Paper

Nondestructive Inspection for Quality Assurance of Fiber Reinforced Plastic Assemblies

THE QUALITY ASSURANCE OF FIBER reinforced plastic assemblies is accomplished at several Ford company and supplier facilities by the implementation of inspection technology developed to assure the integrity of adhesive bond joints and the adherend material of which the assemblies are made. A low-frequency ultrasonic inspection method for the adhesive joints has been developed into a production-compatible method and was reported in references 1, 2, and 3. It uses a 25 kHz commercially available bond tester calibrated with reference specimens selected by a statistical procedure. Certain strength-related characteristics of the adherend material of the assembly, such as fiber orientation, can also be evaluated by measuring changes in the Lamb-wave velocity of 25 kHz acoustic waves propagated in the material by the bond tester. Glass concentration can be determined nondestructively by measuring the velocity of longitudinal ultrasonic waves propagated through the thickness of the material.
Technical Paper

The Development of a Knowledge-Based System for the Nondestructive Inspection of Composites

The increased use of a wide variety of recently developed engineered materials and associated processes, for producing vehicular components, has posed a significant challenge to those charged with the responsibility of knowing, developing and/or applying inspection and testing technology to support the quality assurance of these materials, processes and resulting products. This challenge can be more easily and effectively met, within the constraints of time, expertise and other available resources, if computerized knowledge-based systems are employed to enhance the identification, acquisition and application of advanced inspection technology. This paper provides an overview of developments underway to implement this approach in an automotive environment.