Composite specialist outlines polymer spring involvement

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Owens Corning, a global producer of glass fiber reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems, has unveiled its contribution to the development of the first composite material coil springs for use in an automotive application.

The new composite coil spring, patented by Sogefi, is made of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) and weighs 40 to 70% less than traditional springs made of steel.

Owens Corning’s involvement in the polymer spring project was in the customization of a glass fiber reinforcement for Sogefi’s composite coil spring. The initial design, and industrial development of the composite coil spring results from close collaboration between Sogefi and Owens Corning since 2009. Throughout the project, Owens Corning brought its deep knowledge of glass fiber science and composites use, including best practices and performance benefits.

In terms of mechanical performance, GFRP materials resist fatigue and dampen noise and vibration. They are also resistant to chemical corrosion (for instance, from wheel cleaners) and to gravel impact.

The lightweight springs have been designed for use on both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles with no change to the suspension system. Typically, they offer a weight saving of 4- and 6kg (depending on the type of vehicle and the design of the spring). The significantly reduced unsprung mass helps improving driving precision and comfort, whilst the replacement of steel by materials that are not subject to corrosion also guarantees a lower noise level and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions (up to – 0.5 g/km).”

In a press release, Owens Corning stated that, “Owens Corning is proud of its contribution to Sogefi’s innovation. The company continues to work on light-weighting solutions in structural composites applications such as floor systems, pillars, roof and door modules, bumper beams, and seat structures.”

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About Author

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Graham Heeps is a regular contributor, and knows the dynamics industry well, having previously edited the title. Graham also writes regularly on automotive and motorsport subjects for other magazines from Vehicle Dynamics International’s publisher, UKi Media & Events (as well as editing Tire Technology International), and contributes to a range of online and print publications in the UK, USA and Canada.

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