Technology and future prospects for lightweight plastic vehicle structures

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Description

The state of the technology and the materials and processing issues of using plastics in vehicle body applications (structural and semistructural) were assessed. Plastics are significantly lighter in weight, more easily fabricated into complex shapes, and more corrosion resistance than sheet steel, high-strength steel, or aluminum. However, at their current stage of development, plastics are deficient in one or more necessary properties: heat resistance and dimensional stability, stiffness and tensile strength, toughness, and impact resistance. To upgrade their physical properties for automotive chassis/body applications, plastics need to be compounds with suitable reinforcing fibers. As a short-term approach, the material of ... continued below

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38 p.

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Stodolsky, F.; Cuenca, R.M. & Bonsignore, P.V. August 1, 1997.

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Description

The state of the technology and the materials and processing issues of using plastics in vehicle body applications (structural and semistructural) were assessed. Plastics are significantly lighter in weight, more easily fabricated into complex shapes, and more corrosion resistance than sheet steel, high-strength steel, or aluminum. However, at their current stage of development, plastics are deficient in one or more necessary properties: heat resistance and dimensional stability, stiffness and tensile strength, toughness, and impact resistance. To upgrade their physical properties for automotive chassis/body applications, plastics need to be compounds with suitable reinforcing fibers. As a short-term approach, the material of choice is a composite structure made with low-cost glass-fiber reinforcement, such as that made in the resin-transfer-molding (RTM) process and used in the body of the Dodge Viper. However, RTM technology based on thermosets requires a processing cycle time that is too long for large production runs. Adaptation of RTM to the formation of thermoplastic composite bodies could have a significant advantage over thermoset technology. Cyclic oligomers, which are precursors to thermoplastic matrix polymers, show promise for this application. Farther on the horizon are advanced composites compounds with the much more expensive (but stronger and stiffer) carbon-fiber reinforcement. However, significant price reductions of precursor materials and advances in processing and fabrication would be needed. Other materials holding promise are liquid crystal polymers (LCP) and LCP blends with other polymers (molecular composites). However, the cost of monomers and the subsequent polymerization technology also remains a considerable drawback to the widespread and increasing acceptance of LCPs.

Physical Description

38 p.

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OSTI as DE98003191

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  • Other Information: PBD: Aug 1997

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  • Other: DE98003191
  • Report No.: ANL/ESD/TM--138
  • Grant Number: W-31109-ENG-38
  • DOI: 10.2172/578735 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 578735
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc696323

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  • August 1, 1997

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  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • Dec. 16, 2015, 5:38 p.m.

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Stodolsky, F.; Cuenca, R.M. & Bonsignore, P.V. Technology and future prospects for lightweight plastic vehicle structures, report, August 1, 1997; Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc696323/: accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.