The Splice is right

Researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick have won research funding worth £250,000 from Innovate UK for a project that will put a polymer spring into vehicle fuel efficiency.

Dr Ben Wood, from WMG, who is the lead researcher on the project said, ‘The project is led by The Institute of Spring Technology and researchers at WMG will be developing a method to create accurate flat blank polymer templates with bespoke reinforced plastic cross-section that automotive manufacturers can then use to manufacture polymer springs for the automotive/transport sector.

‘The ‘blanks’ and the final springs will be made of a thermoplastic material reinforced with fibres which, when used in the automotive sector, will result in improved efficiency through light-weighting resulting in: lower emissions; increased fuel efficiency; and improvements in air quality, with associated improvements in public health and environmental impact.’

The researchers will devise material specifications for the reinforced polymer spring material, based on load cases, usage criteria and desired thermo-mechanical properties high and low temperature performance, creep and fatigue life.

Richard Dignall, technical director, The Institute of Spring Technology, added, ‘The Institute of Spring Technology is delighted to be the lead organisation for the SPLICE project and is proud to be part of a consortium that includes leading experts in material science and spring making. The level of knowledge, skill, energy and enthusiasm within the consortium will ensure a successful outcome to the initial feasibility study with an aim of keeping British spring manufacturing at the spearhead of technology and innovation.’