Skip to main content

Hybrid composite structures for crash worthy bodyshells, containers and safe transportation structures

Article Category

Article available in the folowing languages:

Composite structures provide impact crunch

The focus on composite materials in the multitude of interested industries is with good reason. The performance and geometric design of composite materials offer tremendous advantages in that they are lightweight and cheaper to produce. However, their impact resistance is not viable as composites are generally brittle in nature. A new geometric design feature of composite materials however, promises to amalgamate the best features of composites along with higher impact absorption features.

Industrial Technologies

A consortium of railway industries and research institutions initiated research into the impact absorbent properties of composite materials to provide greater safety features for passengers in railway cars. Since composite materials do not possess the same high impact or crash resistant properties of steels, but provide excellent performance features in other areas, the consortium undertook research in geometric designs for composite materials that would provide the required standards of impact resistance. The result; a structural sandwich of two corrugated fibre reinforced plastic faces having a honeycomb foam panelling between them. The core concept behind the corrugated plastics was to allow for failure in the event of a collision, at predetermined stress levels, providing a progressive failure in collapse mode that is capable of absorbing high amounts of energy. Part of the problem with trains in collisions is the massive forces involved due to the physical laws governing bodies in motion. In using composite materials, significant reductions in vehicular weight can also be achieved. The use of composite materials, along with their ease of design also promises considerable reduction in production costs. As a final note, the research also resulted in a structural concept design tool that allows users to evaluate the in-service characteristics such as strength, resistance and crashworthiness of the materials used.

Discover other articles in the same domain of application