At this year’s UK Composites Industry Awards annual dinner, held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 4th November 2015, the ‘Innovation in Design’ award was won by Far-UK Ltd for its super lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) AxontexTM 3D beam car chassis design, developed by Axon Automotive Ltd (part of Far-UK). This innovative composite technology is used for the new Hyundai Intrado hydrogen powered crossover concept car. The super lightweight CFRP chassis prototypes were produced in the UK for Hyundai by Axon Automotive at its factory in Northamptonshire. The award, sponsored by the National Composites Centre (NCC), was presented by Chief Executive Professor Peter Chivers to Axon Automotive’s Managing Director, Chris Taylor, who commented: “We are extremely grateful to the NCC as sponsors, and to Composites UK for creating this prestigious event. I was delighted to receive this design innovation award on behalf of Far–UK and the Axon Automotive team and to celebrate our success at the Composites UK Awards dinner with our advanced materials partner, Scott Bader.”
Two advanced composites materials from Scott Bader – Crestapol® 1250LV high performance acrylic thermoset resin and Crestabond® M1-20 primer-less methacrylate structural adhesive – are used to manufacture and bond together the component sections of the Axontexsuper-lightweight CFRP car chassis system of the Intrado, designed by Axon Automotive in collaboration with Hyundai.
The Intrado’s chassis is made up entirely of moulded parts fabricated using Axon Automotive’s internationally patented Axontex structural beam composite technology. Crestapol® 1250LV is the specified infusion resin, that is vacuum assisted resin transfer moulded (VARTM) around Axon’s proprietary 3D beam design, which combines woven carbon fibre braided tubing around low density polyethylene (LDPE) preforms that foam and expand during infusion. Using this design and process, which can be fully automated, Axontex can be used to form both straight and curved components to create complex shaped assembled structures.
All of the chassis and frame CFRP components are robotically bonded together by Axon using Crestabond® M1-20 primer-less structural adhesive, with no mechanical fixings needed. The result is an automotive chassis with the strength and stiffness of a similar steel structure, but with over 60% saving in the overall chassis weight.
According to Kevin Lindsey, Far-UK’s Technical Director, and one of the original Axon Automotive team which developed this technology with Scott Bader, an Axontex CFRP part is as strong as steel and 60% lighter, enabling this versatile composite 3D beam system to be used for a wide range of structural applications to provide enhanced vehicle performance and fuel cost savings of up to 20%, while meeting crash safety standards. The combination of the superior mechanical properties of Crestapol 1250LV resin with the Axontex technology’s internal web configuration produces moulded CFRP chassis parts which are extremely light, yet provides the very high stiffness and strength properties needed; an ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of 900-1000 MPa (to BS 2282 Part 4) combined with a heat deflection temperature (HDT) of over 130oC have been consistently recorded during extensive testing of the Axontex composite system.
Submitted on 11/11/2015