Fraunhofer IGCV scientists have developed a variety of solutions for joining carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) with metal.
Fusing functional metal components with lightweight, highly durable carbon fiber plastics could end up revolutionizing the lightweight and electric vehicle sectors.
One of the biggest hurdles challenging the widespread adoption of electromobility is vehicle range. The lighter the vehicle or transporter is, the longer the energy storage lasts.
Keeping this in mind, Fraunhofer IGCV researchers have adopted a slew of new techniques to join conventionally cast components with those made of CFRP.
“We’ve combined the various new joining techniques in an electric scooter demonstrator. The goal is to cut down on the number of mechanical attachment points and simplify the joining process as much as possible,” explains team lead Dr. Daniel Günther.
The rear-wheel support of an electric scooter contains a lot of parts integral to its functioning and, for that reason, it is made out of metal.
To make it as lightweight as possible, the researchers produced the part out of highly durable steel, optimizing the topology so the material is restricted solely to the places it is needed to support the functioning.
To produce the part, researchers drew on an additive manufacturing technique that uses a laser beam to form components out of a metal powder.
The rear-wheel support is connected to the CFRP footboard using a screw system – which makes it easier to remove and disassemble the part for maintenance.
The steering head of the scooter is a hybrid component, with an aluminum base frame linking to the footboard behind and the handlebars at the front.
This part of the scooter is full of parts integral to its functioning, with a significant expanse to bridge in-between. Using CFRP parts ensures the necessary rigidity.
To manufacture the part, Günther and his team began by analyzing the available installation space.
As a rule of thumb, the more room used, the larger the cross-section of the component – and the better its rigidity.
Combining CFRP with cast metal proved to be the best solution in this regard.
The researchers further calculated the load at various points of the component. The splices were then precisely positioned at the points with the least load.
Rigidity was also guaranteed thanks to the shaping of the CFRP component.
Image and content: Fraunhofer IGCV