Flax & Lightweighting

By on November 17, 2018 in IN THE NEWS, MATERIAL MATTERS

It’s been 35 years since carbon fibers revolutionized F1 cars. Since then, not much has happened, including getting past carbo-fiber problems such as sharp shattering in crashes, being expensive, manufacturing safety issues and a heavy eco footprint.

Swiss company Bcomp Ltd wanted to move forward. It compiled latest information on composites and lightweighting and applied it to natural fiber—flax fibers, in particular. What resulted were proprietary lightweighting solutions with up to 30 percent better cost efficiency as compared to carbon fibers. This without sacrificing performance.

It turned out that at equal weight, stiffness could be increased by up to 20 percent, and the vibration damping tripled. The enhanced crash behavior improves safety on the racetrack and during processing. At the end of the life cycle, components can be burned with normal waste.

This research led to the patented powerRibs™ reinforcement technology, inspired by leaf veins that provide stiffness with minimal weight. This technology is designed to create a ribbed structure on one side of a thin-walled shell element.