PolyOne Corp. (Cleveland, Ohio) has developed a lightweight, carbon fiber-reinforced underbody brace, which is now offered as a performance upgrade for the current C7 generation of General Motors’ Chevrolet Corvette sports car.
PolyOne Advanced Composites Glasforms formulated a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material for the C7 Corvette Z06 and non-Z06 underbody braces. The braces reduce weight and retain torsional stiffness versus the production aluminum versions while also reportedly increasing flexural stiffness for improved structural integrity and long-term fatigue strength. PolyOne produces the continuous composite-profile braces using pultrusion technology.
"Our Glasforms team evaluated several composite types and identified a solution with optimal performance. The carbon fiber-reinforced composite part is 17% lighter than the stock aluminum part, and the composite held up well in GM's extensive vibration, shake and road test regimen," says Matthew Borowiec, general manager, PolyOne Advanced Composites. “We are proud that our team's expertise in materials and engineering is helping to boost the legendary performance of the Corvette."
The Corvette Z06 won last year’s Car and Driver Lightning Lap with the fastest speed, which also ranked as the second fastest lap time in the history of the event.