Hexcel says its HiMax carbon fibre reinforcements have been selected by Bright Lite Structures (BLS) for the manufacture of safety-critical areas of the Zenos E10 composite chassis.
According to Hexcel the engineered carbon fibre multiaxial fabrics ensure that the sports car’s floor structure can withstand high seat belt pull-out loads in the event of a crash.
BLS explains that the Zenos E10 is a high performance sports car with an innovative and lightweight design. Zenos set out to maximise the driving experience whilst making its cars affordable and accessible to a larger number of people with the result of a stunning combination of sublime handling and immediate acceleration, delivering a truly exhilarating drive on the road or on the track – all available at an everyday price.
The E10 chassis was designed and developed by Bright Lite Structures, who explains that the patented low cost manufacturing technology for carbon composite components allows the finished chassis to be assembled from only five composite parts, which are bonded to a central aluminium spine. For the 1.6 m x 1.7 m chassis floor, Hexcel Reinforcements UK worked alongside BLS to engineer two carbon fibre multiaxial fabrics to meet the challenging design requirements for crash loads without adding unnecessary weight.
A HiMax 300 g/m2 (75 g/m2, 150 g/m2, 75 g/m2) carbon fibre triaxial fabric was added over the complete inner surface of the chassis floor panel with additional areas of HiMax 0/90° 300 g/m2 carbon fibre biaxial fabric used around the seat belt inserts and seat mounting inserts. Hexcel says the resulting engineered solution ensures that, should the vehicle be involved in a high speed crash, the carbon fibre reinforcements will spread the seat belt pull-out load over the largest possible area, ensuring the integrity of the seat belt inserts co-moulded into the floor.
The E10 chassis has won Bright Lite Structures the 2015 Materials Innovation category of the ‘Most Innovative Composites Part’ Award at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE). The company has so far manufactured several hundred chassis sets with many more planned.
According to Hexcel, HiMax carbon reinforcements are widely used in the automotive, wind energy, marine, sports and industrial markets and can be specifically tailored for each customer’s individual application. Unidirectionals, +/- 30 biaxials, +/- 45 biaxials, 0/90 biaxials, triaxials, and quadaxials are available in a wide range of fibre types. Products on display at Advanced Engineering will include lightweight glass and aramid multiaxials, hybrid and recycled fabrics, as well as materials optimised
Visit the Hexcel team on Stand L162 and a complete Zenos E10 chassis will be on display on the Bright Lite Structures Stand N121 at the Advanced Engineering Show.