The paper details the development and mass production of a CFRP rear wall structure for the new Audi A8. The component was developed by Audi in collaboration with Voith Composites, Dow Automotive Systems and Zoltek. The CFRP technology was made possible through several factors:
- an appropriate composite-based design that transferred and optimised CFRP principles from sports car to mass production platforms;
- an integral design that reduced the structure to a single component with integrated function;
- carbon fibre from Zoltek and preform technology from Voith that included direct fibre placement that reduced expensive carbon fibre scrap and facilitated optimal component design;
- robust, automated and linked manufacturing process that included a new Ultra RTM Technology that enabled low mould pressures with faster cycle times;
- enabling technologies from Dow that comprised a cost-effective composite solution package integrating VORAFORCE epoxy resin with carbon fibre preform in an RTM process capable of fast cycle times and easy mould release, and BETAFORCE composite adhesives to bond the structure sub-assembly and full assembly into the vehicle body for increased strength, stiffness and durability.
The CFRP rear wall structure of the new Audi A8 – that can be viewed at Hall 5, Stand E42 – weighs 50% less than the previous generation, significantly increases torsional rigidity of the total vehicle and optimises driving and handling characteristics.
Industries: Automotive and Road Transportation