Evonik, three other industrial partners (Johnson Controls GmbH, Jacob plastics GmbH and Toho Tenax Europe GmbH) and the University of Aachen (Institute for textile technology [ITA] and Automotive Institute [IKA]) are developing a novel lightweight construction concept for auto bodies that partially replaces both steel and lightweight metals. The project is called CAMIMSA (translated from the German: carbon fibre/amide/metal-based interior structural elements in a multi-material system approach) and is developing cost-competitive, carbon fibre reinforced polymers with metallic inserts.
The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is providing funding for the project, which belongs to the WING call (material innovation for industry and society). The project began early April 2011 and is set for the coming three years.
CAMIMSA addresses multi-material systems, which will lead to future lightweight designs. Thus far, lower weight was realized by adjusting existing systems, such as thinner steel sheets; these solutions are approaching their natural limits, Evonik says. In this context, fibre reinforced polymers or composites (FRP), especially those based on carbon fibres, have received wide attention.
Currently employed in the aeronautical sector, this group of materials with their high specific mechanical strength and formation freedom offer the possibility of new lightweight construction concepts. However, for mass production in the automotive sector, they are still too expensive. This essentially lies twofold for FRP: high raw material costs and a very time intensive production. Furthermore, the connection of FRP elements to metal-based frames has yet not been satisfactorily solved.
CAMIMSA will cover a complete solutions approach to allow the entrance of economically priced carbon fibre composites for multi-material systems. To determine the feasibility of this concept, an exemplary Seat Panel Structure will serve as a guide for the development, production and testing. The overall goal is to reduce the weight of a standard metallic system by 40%.