Hexcel's (Stamford, Conn.) HiMax carbon fiber reinforcements have been selected by UK's Bright Lite Structures (BLS) for the manufacture of safety-critical areas of the Zenos E10 composite chassis. The engineered carbon fiber multiaxial fabrics ensure that the sports car's floor structure can withstand high seat belt pull-out loads in the event of a crash.
The E10 chassis was designed and developed by Bright Lite Structures, whose patented low cost manufacturing technology for carbon composite components allows the finished chassis to be assembled from only five composite parts, which are bonded to a central aluminium spine. For the 1.6 m x 1.7 m chassis floor, Hexcel Reinforcements UK worked alongside BLS to engineer two carbon fiber multiaxial fabrics to meet the challenging design requirements for crash loads without adding unnecessary weight.
A HiMax 300 g/m2 (75 g/m2, 150 g/m2, 75 g/m2) carbon fiber triaxial fabric was added over the complete inner surface of the chassis floor panel with additional areas of HiMax 0/90° 300 g/m2 carbon fibre biaxial fabric used around the seat belt inserts and seat mounting inserts. The resulting engineered solution ensure that, should the vehicle be involved in a high speed crash, the carbon fiber reinforcements will spread the seat belt pull-out load over the largest possible area, ensuring the integrity of the seat belt inserts co-moulded into the floor.
The E10 chassis won Bright Lite Structures the 2015 Materials Innovation category of the Most Innovative Composites Part Award at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE). The company has so far manufactured several hundred chassis sets with many more planned.
A complete Zenos E10 chassis will be on display on the Bright Lite Structures stand (N-121) at Advanced Engineering 2016 in Birmingham, UK, on November 2-3.