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Fiber-reinforced composite leaf spring used in Volvo XC90 SUV; Henkel Loctite MAX 2 resin

A fiber-reinforced composite leaf spring based on the polyurethane matrix resin Loctite MAX 2 from Henkel is being used in the chassis of the new Volvo XC90, a premium crossover SUV of which the innovative rear axle concept is to serve as a platform for other model series. BENTELER-SGL, a leading manufacturer of composite components for automotive applications, is aiming to produce several hundred thousand of these leaf springs per year.

Composite materials based on glass or carbon fibers combine savings in weight with strength, thereby offering enhanced safety and good crash behavior. In its alliance with BENTELER-SGL aligned to the development and large-scale production of a composite leaf spring for Volvo Cars, Henkel has contributed its process know-how in relation to RTM (resin transfer molding) so as to further optimize the cycle times that occur in the manufacture of fiber-reinforced components.

Because of its low viscosity, the polyurethane matrix resin Loctite MAX 2 from Henkel rapidly fills the mold and quickly yet gently impregnates the fiber material, resulting in short injection times. With the curing rate also substantially faster than that of epoxy resins, cycle times are shorter overall. Loctite MAX 2 has been successfully used in the mass production of leaf springs since 2013.

In addition, the current project uses selected additives that make the curing process faster and more flexible.

Rear_axle_of_the_new_Volvo_XC90

The suspension of the new Volvo XC90 offers the innovative feature of a transverse fiber-reinforced composite leaf spring instead of the usual array of coil springs. This gives rise to a highly compact design as well as producing a weight saving of some 4.5 kilograms (10 lbs) compared to a conventional coils spring concept.

Further functional benefits arise from a smoother ride and improved NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) behavior. The trunk volume is also increased because there are no suspension turrets.

Comments

sd

This is not exactly new. The Chevrolet (GM) Corvette has had transverse glass leaf spring for both the front and rear for quite a while -- 15+ years?

gorr

Actually I drive an old dodge neon 2005 and I never panicked and bought a costly new green car like a prius a volt or a leaf, LOL. With this new plastic suspension it worth to wait that it hit the market before buying. Actually the current crop of cars on the market do not have this suspension so I recommend to stick to your actual car till in the future there will be much more improved green car to buy. I will wait till my car get completely wornout before buying anything. My next car will maybe be an cheap improved bev with 600 miles range with a developed charging infrastructure made with aluminium or carbon fiber-plastics and with this lightweight smooth suspension.

I witness many bloggers having bought prius, volts or leaf and to be true they don't seam satisfied. I recommend to wait that prices get lower, that technology improve and appreciate that gas prices are getting lower. Do not buy solar panels for your home as it don't worth the prices. Do not buy any battery cars or hybrids as the batteries do not worth their prices. The actual state of green technologies are costly, more problematic and under-performing. If ever your car is wornout I recommend a small Nissan micra or a Honda fit both running on gasoline regular unleaded. Wait wait wait till they start to sell really good green cars.

The best cars to buy right now are used gasoline small cars priced between 1000$ to 1500$. you can still keep these cars 5 to 10 years before they are wornout. One of the worst buy is volt, leaf tesla and prius as you pay 10x premium over the money you save on gasoline. Also tesla is near bankruptcy so future maintenance and supercharger network is at high risk.

Hydrogen is coming and I cannot envision that it will be a success. The current crop of green cars are already in decline, so don't invest. Their bubble are starting to deflate

When there will be an invention than it will apply to big trucks. Actually big trucks didn't change their technology because there is no new technology that is better.

Arnold

The transverse leaf started out in the era of leather slung horse drawn buggies and fiberglass leafs became popular in various esp longitudinal regular replacement race setups esp American constructions.

We also saw compposite and hollow steel coil springs developed more recently.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/06/20140630-audi.html

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/06/20140604-ford2.html

Aside from weight saving composites are likely to hold their set better giving a more reliable ride height over time.

While leaf spring setups are generally out of favor other than these days they remain common on 2ton and heavier vehicles.

A bit surprising to see this approach but definitely overdue.

Lad

Not new; Volvo has used them on the large sedans since 1992.

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