New material trends at the iconic US car.
Composites bring design, performance flexibility to new Corvette
The mixed materials — ranging from structural carbon fiber and sheet molding compound, among others — give the eighth-generation Corvette a lightweight advantage, performance for a value and "a lot of flexibility,"
While the 2020 Stingray maintains Corvette's use of an aluminum frame, the mid engine sports car has SMC and carbon fiber underbody components and exterior SMC body panels. The new model also boasts what GM says is the automotive industry's first curved, multihollow pultruded carbon fiber bumper beam.
The new Chevrolet Corvette has front and rear storage compartments made from lightweight fiberglass with a proprietary resin. GM says the sheet molding compound is so light it can float in water. The material also works with carbon fiber and can reduce noise and vibration in the vehicle, according to the automaker.
The lightweight component is engineered and manufactured by Shape Corp., a Tier 1 automotive supplier of plastic, composite and metallic parts.
Shape engineers started prototyping pultruded profiles in 2013 and later developed the bumper with Thomas Technik & Innovation, a German pultrusion company. GM engineers also worked directly with Shape during the development process for the structural carbon fiber component.
Molded Fiber Glass Cos. of Ashtabula, Ohio, developed the SMC with GM.
"Why do we have SMC here? Why do we have thermoplastic here?" "Every part has a purpose, and that's the flexibility you can get with the composites."
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