A composite anti-roll bar for the automotive sector could be 30% lighter than current commercial alternatives, researchers at the University of Sheffield, UK, and two South Yorkshire firms claim.

Tubular steel is the industry standard for high-performance stabiliser bars, an integral part of a vehicle’s suspension system. The new component is a carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) hybrid composite, joined with an adhesive and metallic end fittings.

The University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, worked with engineering sub-contractor Tinsley Bridge and engineering designers at Performance Engineered Solutions (PES) on the Lightweight Metal Composite Hybrid (LiMeCH) project.

Russell Crow, Tinsley Bridge Director of Engineering and Development, says, ‘One of the project objectives was to develop lightweight composite components which covered the known range of spring steel parts, therefore dependent on the loading and performance characteristics required, different filaments and resin systems may be deployed to achieve the results required.’

Tinsley Bridge previously worked with the AMRC on the Lightweight Composite Suspension Components project, which developed the carbon composite. The LiMeCH project, with Innovate UK funding, sought to improve the metal-to-carbon-fibre bonded joint.

PES used finite element analysis (FEA) before manufacturing to test whether the designs could handle the same loads as the equivalent steel part.

The AMRC Composite Centre has made four prototypes using its MF TECH filament winding system. Filaments of carbon, impregnated with resin, were wound onto a rotating mandrel to form the required shape. PES then inspected the inside of the bar using computerised tomography scanning and an in-house light scanning system. The metallic-to-composite bond now passes the industry fatigue requirements.

extracted from IOM3, Alex Brinded, read more here

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