Calculation, design and process

As a leading service provider for the whole development process chain in fiber composites, IFC Composite GmbH offers all of the necessary steps, from designing, construction and calculations through to the 'turn-key hand-over' of product lines, for composite components made from glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) or carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Automotive products made from fiber composite offer clear benefits over steel in many respects: less weight, no corrosion, finer response characteristics, less need for installation space.

The reduction in weight is naturally particularly interesting in terms of the environment. Less fuel consumption results in reduced CO2 emissions. A weight saving of 20 kilos also means 5 g/km less CO2! The GFRP leaf springs series from IFC Composite for light duty trucks is more than 20 kilos lighter compared with standard steel leaf springs (steel 25 kg - GFRP 5.4 kg), for instance.

In addition to boosting efficiency and electrifying the drive train, automobile manufacturers are thus increasingly turning to lightweight design due to the pressures placed on them by the stipulated emission limits. Lightweight design has become a key technology for the automotive sector. The potential CO2 savings achieved by using lightweight design amount to up to 20 per cent for a mid-range car and are thus significantly higher than those for the engine (15 per cent) or in aerodynamics (5 per cent).

Over many years of manufacturing experience, IFC has already chalked up quantities of over one million fiber composite components. Expertise is available in all common techniques (RTM, filament winding, injection, organic sheets and prepreg).

IFC possesses a high-performance prepreg facility (widths up to 1200 mm, minimal thicknesses below 1 mm, impregnation of 180 to 900 g). Processing is conducted in solvent-free epoxy hot-melt systems. The new site features a manufacturing area measuring 7,000 square meters (60,000 square meters in total).

Fiber types

Various fiber types give special properties to the composite materials featuring glass or carbon fibers used in automobile manufacturing.

 

Glass fibers can be differentiated into the types E-glass (standard fibers), S-glass (increased strength), M-glass (increased stiffness) and C-glass (more resistant to chemicals). Furthermore, there are particularly alkali-resistant (AR-glass), corrosion- and acid-resistant (ECR-glass) and heat-resistant (Q-glass) glass fibers.

 

Carbon fibers also feature various properties that depend on the raw materials (viscose, polyacrylonitrile/PAN or pitch) and the method of production. The distinctions according to fiber strength and stiffness: HT fibers (high tenacity, high strength, standard), ST fibers (super tenacity), IM fibers (intermediate modulus), HM fibers (high modulus) and UHM fibers (ultra high modulus).

 

Additional fiber types include natural fibers (including wool, silk, flax, jute) and metal fibers (including steel and aluminum).