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1/14/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

IACMI showcases composites at North American International Auto Show

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The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation is showcasing composites innovations in lightweighting at the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Jan. 14-17.

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The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI, Knoxville, TN, US) is highlighting research and development initiatives that are driving the future of composites for automotive lightweighting at the JEC Group’s Composites Pavilion at the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS, Detroit, MI, US) Jan. 14-17.

IACMI is showcasing the first large injection molded automotive prototype made with low-cost textile-grade carbon fiber. Produced by IACMI members Techmer PM, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Michigan State University (MSU), this innovative production approach yields an estimated cost savings of 40 – 50% compared to a 50,000 filament tow commercial counterpart. The textile carbon fiber was produced by ORNL at the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF). TechmerPM addressed unique compounding challenges to provide pellets of PA66, a commonly used thermoplastic nylon, reinforced with 25% of the textile carbon fiber. MSU tuned the molding parameters for the compound and produced full-size fenders through injection molding at the IACMI Scale-Up Research Facility (SURF). Through this collaborative effort, textile carbon fiber was injection molded using the Milacron 3,000-ton injection press and at cycle times relevant for high-volume production. Additional trials have demonstrated the versatility of using different fiber content, including fenders with 10% and 45% carbon fiber content.

While traditional carbon fiber composites have long been touted for their weight savings in stiffness-critical automotive applications including automotive bodies, b-pillars, and other structural components, the implementation of textile carbon fiber makes these applications more cost-competitive with traditional, heavier materials. Textile carbon fiber has potential for impact in the automotive industry because of the reduced cost for supporting weight savings opportunities.

IACMI’s participation in the Composites Pavilion is sponsored by IACMI partner, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

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