It is common in rally cars that some of its components made of pressed steel are replaced by composite materials.
Changing the vehicle doors, hood and rear of the vehicle from pressed steel to panels made of a composite carbon-aramid material, reduces their weight between 82% and 89%.
Former rally champion Petter Solberg competed in the 2013 European Championship with a 600-horsepower Citroën DS3.
Originally this car was equipped with glass fiber reinforced plastic panels that were also replaced by new Carbon-Aramid parts commercially known as Carbon-Kevlar®.
Each of the eleven body panels were built using the vacuum infusion technique using Crestapol® 1260 high performance acrylic resins and carbon and aramid fabrics.
On the bonnet, as it is a large piece, to reduce the weight as much as possible, a composite sandwich was made by applying a foam core to increase rigidity and reduce weight. Of all the panels, the largest was the front bumper, this was optimized using a composite material with carbon-aramid fibers that only weighed 2.17 kg on the scale.
All this work managed to reduce the total weight of the vehicle by 56 kg. In competition, every kilogram you take from the vehicle makes you gain hundredths of a second and can be decisive in the final result of the competition. For this application it was decided to choose a high-performance acrylic resin instead of the usual epoxy resin used with carbon compounds, due to its reduced process time, cost reduction and its mechanical properties.
The high-performance acrylic resin combines great strength and durability, necessary features to face a competition of this type. With the selected resin, the production costs of the pieces fell, due to its low process time, due to material costs, since it is a resin that cures at room temperature and does not need to cure in an oven (higher cost).
High performance acrylic resin has proven to be a real alternative to epoxy prepreg resins for high performance applications.
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