As the second-largest, institutionally funded transport research institution in Europe, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- and Raumfahrt/DLR) uses its transport program to address the big questions involving the future of mobility. BASF and its partner BNP Brinkmann are supporting the current research project — Next Generation Car (NGC) — with a tailormade, light-weight composite based on natural fiber. “By using our Acrodur binder we were able, together with our partner BNP Brinkmann, to produce a composite material from renewable resources that meets the German Aerospace Center’s particularly high requirements for stability and weight”, explains Thorsten Habeck, Head of Business Management Fiber Bonding – Europe, Middle East & Africa at BASF.
|Water-based binder can create stable, sustainable and environmental-friendly car components that weigh up to 50% less than traditional metal parts.|
Acrodur is a water-based binder containing no added formaldehyde that transforms renewables such as hemp, kenaf, flax and wood into light-weight, stable and durable functional composites. Due to its high-flexibility, easy-processing features, and superior thermomechanical stability, low-emission Acrodur can create stable, sustainable and environmental-friendly car components that weigh up to 50% less than traditional metal parts.
The goal of the German Aerospace Center’s NGC project is to promote the development of quiet, low-emission road vehicles with a high degree of automation and a wide range. It uses state-of-the-art technologies, among other things, for vehicle structure, engine, and energy management. Light-weight construction is key when it comes to the development of innovative vehicle concepts: About two-thirds of fuel consumption depends directly on the weight of the vehicle.
The contribution to the project made by BASF and its partner BNP Brinkmann was related to the Safe Light Regional Vehicle (SLRV), the smallest and lightest of the vehicle concepts developed as part of the NGC project. It combines a novel, metal sandwich type of construction with an innovative entry concept, a highly efficient hydrogen fuel cell engine and a novel car body to meet the demanding safety and weight (450 kg) requirements of the light-weight L7 vehicle category.
The interior floor of the NGC SLRV features light-weight composites made from natural fiber to protect the car body against mechanical deformation. “BASF and BNP Brinkmann were able to help us meet a difficult requirement and supplied us with tailormade molded parts that combine extremely low weight with high stability. This was essential for our NGC SLRV because, as the hood opens upward, people get into the car in an upright position, which leads to a particularly high point load on the car body in the footwell”, explains Michael Kriescher, responsible project leader at the Institute for Vehicle Concepts of the German Aerospace Center.
BASF helped produce the component by providing its experience with fiber bonding products. In the past, this expertise and the use of the Acrodur binder for natural fiber composites led to several high-performance light-weight components that were serially produced for the automotive industry.
Collaboration partner BNP Brinkmann, a specialist for multifaceted types of fleece that are used for semi-finished products by the automotive industry, supported the production of the component. “When we develop innovative technical fleece fabrics, we are, as far as mobility is concerned, apart from light-weight, absorption and insulation solutions, particularly focusing on products made from renewable raw materials. Our experience and the particular characteristics of the Acrodur binder enabled us to produce the highly effective composite required by the German Aerospace Center by almost exclusively using natural fibers”, says Thomas Güthe, Managing Director of BNP Brinkmann.