Thermoplastic Forming of Lightweight Vehicle Structures

NCMS Project #: 141035

Problem: Lightweight composite materials are often sought out by both commercial automotive and defense industries to solve their respective weight issues.  Despite the known benefits of lightweight composite materials, these materials are often passed over during trade-studies in favor of metals.

Benefit: Developing lightweight, corrosion resistant thermoplastic composite structures using economical materials and manufacturing processes will reduce vehicle weights and ease maintenance and sustainment burdens in commercial automotive, commercial marine, and defense industries.

Solution/Approach: This project will address the known technological barriers to forming thick thermoplastic composite structures through the development of an agile manufacturing process using induction heating controlled by “smart susceptors,” which enables forming of large, thick thermoplastic composite structures without the need for an autoclave.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Reduce manufacturing and maintenance costs
  • Increase fuel efficiency and decrease carbon emissions
  • Reduce wear and tear on roadways and bridges due to lowered vehicle weights
  • Improve warfighter durability and readiness

DoD Participation:

  • U.S. Army

Industry Participation:

  • Temper Inc.
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Positive environmental impact
  • Energy efficiency
  • Durability
  • Lightweighting

Focus Area:

  • Energy, environmental, health, and safety