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Anticipating increased demand for EVs, Teijin to support World Solar Challenge

Teijin Aramid BV, the core company of the Teijin Group’s aramid business, announced that its para-aramid fiber Twaron will be deployed in the solar-powered vehicles being developed by the KU Leuven and University of Michigan teams taking part in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world’s biggest solar car racing event, taking place in Australia from 8 to 15 October.

Taking advantage of its advanced materials and processing technologies, the Teijin Group intends to further strengthen its ability to deliver innovative technological solutions in fields such as weight reduction and battery efficiency. It plans to do this in order to meet the expected growth in worldwide demand for electric vehicles (EV) leading up to the year 2040, by which time these are expected to become the default mode of transportation.

Twaron is Teijin Aramid’s flagship para-aramid, and is suitable for a wide range of challenging applications, including ballistic protection, heat and cut protection, the oil and gas industry, the automotive industry and optical fiber cables. Twaron combines the following characteristics, which distinguish it from other synthetic fibers:

  • High strength (excellent strength-to-weight properties)
  • High modulus
  • High dimensional stability
  • Excellent heat, cut and chemical resistance
  • No melting point
  • Low flammability
  • Non-conductivity

These unique characteristics are the result of a 100% paracrystalline structure with molecular chains preferentially oriented along the ber axis.

Twaron yarns are very strong, their tensile strength being two to three times higher than that of high-strength polyester and polyamide yarns and five times higher than that of steel on a weight basis.

Twaron stress/strain curves. Click to enlarge.

The KU Leuven team is using Twaron-based parts above the tracking box and in the driver safety canopy to allow the vehicle to send and receive electromagnetic signals, enabling more precise communication and the monitoring of signal transceivers.

The University of Michigan team is using Twaron to reinforce the undercarriage of their vehicle, utilizing the material’s superior abrasion resistance and high strength-to-weight ratio. Toho Tenax America, the Teijin Group’s US-based carbon fiber business, will be providing the Tenax carbon fiber to both teams.

In Japan, the Teijin Group supplies advanced high-performance materials and technologies to the Kogakuin University Solar Team; it also provides them with technical support in the areas of structural design, molding and on-the-spot backup during races.

Ultra-lightweight fabric made with Tenax carbon fiber, Panlite polycarbonate (PC) resin and Technora para-aramid fiber prepreg are used to reduce the vehicle’s body weight.

V-Lap nonwoven polyester fabric used for seat cushions contributes to vehicle weight reduction as well as improving overall driver comfort. Solotex polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) fiber is incorporated into the team’s uniforms providing excellent comfort and a close fit in what are often harsh race environments. Nanofront ultra-fine polyester fiber is used in the team’s driving gloves, improving steering wheel grip.

A bi-annual event, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge was inaugurated in 1987, and this year’s race will be the 14th in the series. It is the world’s leading solar car racing event, regularly showcasing advanced, innovative solar power technologies.


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