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Development of lightweight springs and suspension components for vehicles using fibre-reinforced plastics

Design, manufacture and evaluation of suspension components
for vehicles to evaluate the advantages of using fibre-
reinforced plastics to reduce mass, integrate parts,
increase durability and reduce damage to road surfaces

The aim of the project is to demonstrate that fibre- reinforced plastics can be used in vehicle suspension systems with advantages to the manufacturer, the operator and other road users and road builders. These advantages need to be quantified in terms of mass reduction, life, reduction in parts and damage to the road surface. In addition, the ability of composite materials to perform as primary load-bearing components needs to be assessed. The cost effectiveness of such materials needs to be established, as the material which it would replace (steel) is both cheap to produce and to process. To gain these advantages, it is proposed to evolve existing designs of suspension systems for a range of vehicles up to the heaviest in current use. Composite materials would be selected on the basis of the appropriate properties and costs and their design allowable parameters. Process technology will be developed to ensure the correct location of the fibres, moulding directly to final dimensions and reproductibility for volume production. Quality assurance techniques will be developed to provide the appropriate level for structural load-bearing components. Laboratory testing of components will include the development of appropriate multi-axis rig tests for components and suspension systems. Vehicle testing will include fit and function tests, ride/handling, and measurements of damage to the road surface by heavy vehicles. In service trials with users are essential to check the performance and acceptability of the suspension under all road conditions.
Acronym: 
EUROSPRINGS
Project ID: 
888
Start date: 
01-01-1994
Project Duration: 
72months
Project costs: 
4 100 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.