Stiffness-modifiable composite for pedestrian protection
Paper i proceeding, 2014
A novel functional material allowing stiffness-reduction upon external stimulation was developed. Implementation of such technology in the design of a car front has high potential to result in increased protection of vulnerable road users (VRUs). The composite material is obtained by coating carbon fibres with a thermoplastic polymer in a continuous process, followed by infusion with an epoxy resin. The process is scalable for industrial use. The coating process was optimized regarding coating efficiency, energy consumption, risks involved for operating personnel and environment, and tailored to gain the optimal coating thickness obtained from numerical calculations. A drastic decrease in transversal stiffness could be detected for the composite material by dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA), when the temperature was increased above the glass transition temperature of the thermoplastic interphase. The ability of the material to achieve such temperature and associated reduction in stiffness by the application of current was verified using a special 3-point bending setup developed for this task.