High-Performance Composites

MAR 2013

High-Performance Composites is read by qualified composites industry professionals in the fields of continuous carbon fiber and other high-performance composites as well as the associated end-markets of aerospace, military, and automotive.

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debut: Automotive Composites Stingray reboot shows off Plasan parts With the arrival of its 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, General Motors Co. (Detroit, Mich.) became the world's first automaker to use Class A CFRP body panels molded by Plasan Carbon Composites' (Bennington, Vt.) "pressure-press" technology. Source: General Motors Co./Photo: © General Motors Co. faster cycle, Better surface: OUT OF THE AUTOCLAVE gm is first automaker to use class a cfrp parts from new pressure-press technology. O source: plasan carbon composites Purpose-built plant & presses Built specifically to mold the Stingray's cfrp hood and roof, plasan carbon composites' plant in Walker, mich. is equipped with five new "pressure presses" designed and built by globe machine manufacturing co. 42 | n Jan. 14, General Motors Co. (GM, Detroit, Mich.) introduced its 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray reboot at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS, Detroit, Mich.). Returning to the iconic Stingray name badge for the first time since it was retired in 1976, the new baseline Corvette is also the first production car to feature structural, Class A carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) body panels produced via a new out-of-autoclave "pressure-press" technology. Invented by Plasan Carbon Composites (Bennington, Vt.), the process relies on equipment developed and built by Globe Machine Manufacturing Co. (Tacoma, Wash.). The Stingray's removable roof is available painted or in an exposed-weave/ clear-coated version. The hood is painted to match the body. Each is formed and cured by Plasan's process 75 percent faster than previous autoclaved parts. high-performance composites mass-producing mass reduction The commercial debut of the hood and roof is a significant milestone for automotive composites. Pound for pound, carbon composites are the lightest, strongest construction materials available to industry. Automakers today readily acknowledge that they offer an ideal means to reduce vehicle mass without sacrificing occupant safety or driving performance as OEMs seek to meet more stringent U.S. fuel economy standards and significantly more difficult European tailpipe emission limits. But the high cost of carbon fiber, the time and expense of autoclave processing and a lack of predictive-engineering tools have kept away all but a handful of supercar and highend sports car builders. At their low volumes, autoclave cure is fast enough and the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) is high enough to recoup the expense. However, when

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