At this year’s UK Composites Industry Awards, the ‘Innovation in Design’ award was won by Far-UK Ltd (West Bridgford, Nottingham, UK) for its lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) Axontex 3D beam car chassis design, developed by Axon Automotive Ltd (part of Far-UK).
This composite technology is used for the new Hyundai Intrado hydrogen powered crossover concept car. The lightweight CFRP chassis prototypes were produced in the UK for Hyundai by Axon Automotive at its factory in Northamptonshire.
Two advanced composites materials from Scott Bader (Wollaston, Northampshire, UK) – Crestapol 1250LV high performance acrylic thermoset resin and Crestabond M1-20 primer-less methacrylate structural adhesive – are used to manufacture and bond together the component sections of the Axontex super-lightweight CFRP car chassis system of the Intrado, designed by Axon Automotive in collaboration with Hyundai.
The Intrado’s chassis is made up entirely of molded parts fabricated using Axon Automotive’s internationally patented Axontex structural beam composite technology. Crestapol 1250LV is the specified infusion resin, that is vacuum assisted resin transfer molded (VARTM) around Axon’s proprietary 3D beam design, which combines woven carbon fiber braided tubing around low density polyethylene (LDPE) preforms that foam and expand during infusion. Using this design and process, which can be fully automated, Axontex can be used to form both straight and curved components to create complex shaped assembled structures.
All of the chassis and frame CFRP components are robotically bonded together by Axon using Crestabond M1-20 primer-less structural adhesive, with no mechanical fixings needed. The result is an automotive chassis with the strength and stiffness of a similar steel structure, but with over 60% saving in the overall chassis weight.
According to Kevin Lindsey, Far-UK’s Technical Director, and one of the original Axon Automotive team which developed this technology with Scott Bader, an Axontex CFRP part is as strong as steel and 60% lighter, enabling this versatile composite 3D beam system to be used for a wide range of structural applications to provide enhanced vehicle performance and fuel cost savings of up to 20%, while meeting crash safety standards.