chapter  16
24 Pages

Reinforced composite materials

Composite materials came into the automotive arena to fulfil the needs of small post-war car manufacturers. As metal was rationed for 12 years after the end of the SecondWorldWar small companies sought alternatives. The automotive market was developing at the same time as the small boat market; both developed along the same lines using a glass fibre and a resin lay-up procedure (GRP) which is still used today by many kit car manufacturers. The use of composites – a product made up of more than one material which is bonded together to provide special properties – becamemore specialized as carbon based technical materials became available. Depending on the materials used in composite

construction, the following properties of composites may influence their choice:

Components can be produced on a one-off basis with minimum tooling

Compound curvature can be produced with constant material thickness

Extreme lightness for a given strength Resistant to corrosion Different finishes are available There is a style cache in the use of carbon fibre.