Porsche Motorsport demonstrates the possibilities of series production of natural fibre parts in motorsports and is nominated for a JEC Innovation Award in the Sustainability category. The project was realised together with associated partners Bcomp, Four Motors and the Fraunhofer-Anwendungszentrum HOFZET.
Showcasing innovation in motorsport bodywork
The specific properties of natural fibres were used to allow the lightweight design of sustainable doors and rear wing. Meeting all the technical requirements, parts made from ampliTex™ flax fabric and powerRibs™ flax reinforcement grid manage to tip the scales at the same weight as components made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. Porsche Motorsport demonstrates the technology readiness in two completely different load cases with the door as a body part and the rear wing being dynamically loaded.
Established production processes
To manufacture these parts from natural fibres, the same manufacturing techniques were used as with standard carbon fibre parts. The doors make use of a Balsa wood core which allows them to achieve similar bending stiffness as comparable synthetic sandwich parts made with carbon fibre. The rear wing makes perfect use of Bcomp’s powerRibs™ technology to meet all the technical requirements with a minimal amount of fibres and was manufactured in an autoclave process, while the doors were made in a classic RTM (resin transfer moulding) process.
Small series production
This case from Porsche Motorsport shows how it is perfectly possible to process natural fibres in large scale series-compatible processes. Seeing that the doors and rear wings are already produced for 700 vehicles, they can be clearly distinguished from prototype parts and manage to show the application potential of natural fibre reinforced plastics for road going sports cars and the future mobility market in general.
About the JEC Innovation Awards
Celebrating the fruitful cooperation between players of the composite community, the JEC Innovation Awards have brought in 1,800 companies from around the world over the past 15 years. During this time 177 companies and 433 partners have been rewarded for the excellence of their composite innovations based on criteria such as partner involvement in the value chain, technicality or commercial applications of innovations.