Flax reinforcements complement carbon in a novel construction that reduces weight and cost whilst improving damping and environmental performance.
The need to reduce weight to improve vehicle efficiency and range is leading to the adoption of carbon fibre, which is relatively expensive, energy/CO2 intensive, and can cause noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) issues.
Flax is a natural fibre which is low cost, low density, sustainable and has excellent vibration damping properties, and has been shown to work well when combined with carbon fibre in hybrid composite structures.
The door panel, developed by NetComposites, KS Composites and Riversimple for the Rasa hydrogen fuel cell car, has been built using a novel carbon/flax hybrid micro-sandwich which combines the mechanical benefits of carbon with the added advantages of reduced weight, cost, NVH and environmental impact of flax.
Brendon Weager, Technical Director at Composites Evolution, explains “The Riversimple Rasa door panel demonstrates the great technical, economic and environmental benefits of the flax/carbon hybrid composites. This lightweight materials technology fits well with the ethos of Riversimple and zero emission vehicles as a whole. We fully expect this technology to be rolled out to a wider range of components in the near future.”
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