High-performance lightweighting solutions in natural fibres for bodywork: up to 20% stiffer and up to 30% more cost efficient than carbon fibres – Bcomp’s highly engineered natural fibre reinforcements constitute a real alternative to carbon fibres.Since carbon fibres revolutionized F1 some 35 years ago, there have been few new game-changing solutions, despite the problems with carbon fibres: sharp shattering in crash scenarios, high costs, safety issues in manufacturing and heavy eco footprint.
Swiss high-tech firm Bcomp Ltd gathered the latest composites and lightweighting knowledge and applied it to natural fibres – flax fibres particularly. The result is proprietary lightweighting solutions with up to 30% better cost efficiency compared to carbon fibres – without sacrificing performance.
In fact, at equal weight, stiffness can be increased by up to 20% and the vibration damping tripled. The enhanced crash behavior improves safety both on the race track and during processing. At the end of the life cycle, components can simply be incinerated together with normal waste. In addition, flax fibres are CO2 neutral over its entire life cycle.
This is made possible by the patented powerRibs™ reinforcement technology, inspired by leaf veins that provide stiffness with minimal weight, designed to create a ribbed structure on one side of a thin-walled shell element. The result is an extremely lightweight, high-performance natural fibre composite reinforcement grid that optimizes mechanical and geometric properties.
powerRibs™ can be used together with Bcomp’s technical fabrics ampliTex™ for a full-flax layup that matches the performance of carbon fibres with 75% lower embodied energy; or with carbon fibre for extreme performance: a hybrid that is up to 20% lighter and has up to 200% specific bending stiffness vs. full carbon layup. Perfect for high performance applications such as replacing or reinforcing carbon fibres in motorsport bodywork and weight reduction in automotive interiors, it is a truly revolutionary technology.
Some spectacular live cases with full-flax bodywork during 2018 include the racing-adapted Electric GT Tesla and the Gillet Vertigo driven by Vanina Ickx in Pikes Peak, both made in ampliTex™ technical fabrics and powerRibs™ reinforcements. The “Alter” by DAB Motors for YAMAHA received massive attention in the MC community around the world as it was launched. Both Electric GT and DAB leverages the natural translucency for extremely cool, fully integrated screens and front lights respectively.
Bcomp has established itself as a global leader in high-performance, lightweight renewable reinforcements, and had the capacity to guide customers through the process with significant engineering power. As a result, today Bcomp has development projects with global automotive OEMs, within commercial air as well as within the European Space Agency Clean Space program; its innovations been awarded numerous JEC Innovation Awards and ISPO awards.
Bcomp will be exhibiting at the World Motorsport Symposium on the 27th/28th November at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) so come and visit them.