Benefits to guide material usage

Lightweight material usage in the construction of vehicles should be applied where they bring the greatest benefits according to an industry expert.

Andrea Hohmann, team leader: life cycle assessment and lifecycle cost analysis, functional lightweight design at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology Augsburg suggested that in the future, lightweight materials should be applied based on the motto: ‘use the material where it brings the greatest benefits.’

Andrea explained, ‘The lightweight potential of composites as well as the accompanying advantages of energy and emissions savings in the use-phase, higher travel distances etc are well-known, especially for electrically powered vehicles.

‘For high-volume production and thus comprehensive application of composites in the automotive industry, there are some challenges compared to other lightweight materials eg aluminum, which have to be solved. The main limitations are still the high material costs, the production wastes due to high cutting rates and the lack of re-use. There is a lot of ongoing research to overcome these challenges and the results look promising.

‘However, it is important to consider carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) where relevant. In the future different lightweight materials should be applied based on the motto: use the material there, where it brings the greatest benefits.’

Andrea will be presenting a session at this year’s European Global Automotive Lightweight Materials (GALM) event taking place from 26-28 April at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole.

As a media partner, bodyshop magazine readers can receive a 15% discount on booking using the code GALMUK16BS.

For further information, visit www.global-automotive-lightweight-materials-europe.com/.