Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


In a multidisciplinary co-operation, involving manufacturers, end-users, experts on crash, ergonomics and styling and the Center of Lightweight Structures [CLS] a composite chassis structure for a go-kart resistant to multiple impact and crash was developed.

The traditional go-kart, based on a welded steel tube frame, requires compromises to be made between durability and good driving properties. With a composite design, all properties of strength, longitudinal and torsional stiffness can be tuned better. Also, most composite materials can absorb more elastic energy than metals.

A new chassis has been developed, based on glass fibre reinforced polyester. The structural and functional requirements resulted in a tailored sandwich ring structure, in which most of the material is put along the outer contour of the chassis. The RTM technique enabled the manufacture of this complex structure which is a symbiosis of structural (moment or inertia), functional (bumper suspension), manufacturing (draw angle) and styling aspects. Also a new type of bumper system was developed which is attached on all sides of the chassis. It is based on a resiliant PE foam core surrounded by a rotation moulded cover. Full scale crash tests showed an enormous improvement of the impact absorption behavior. The project was concluded with a functional prototype which enabled driving tests. Driving properties with this model were very satisfactory.

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