Hexcel's HiMax carbon fiber reinforcements are specified for the manufacture of safety-critical areas of the Zenos E10 chassis.
Hexcel's HiMax carbon fiber reinforcements are specified for the manufacture of safety-critical areas of the Zenos E10 chassis.

Hexcel's HiMax carbon fiber reinforcements have been selected by Bright Lite Structures (BLS) for the manufacture of safety-critical areas of the Zenos E10 composite chassis. The carbon fiber multiaxial fabrics help the sports car's floor structure to withstand high seat belt pull-out loads in the event of a crash.

The Zenos E10 is a high performance sports car with a lightweight design.  The E10 chassis was designed and developed by Bright Lite Structures, whose low cost manufacturing technology for carbon composite components allows the finished chassis to be assembled from only five composite parts, which are bonded to a central aluminium spine. For the 1.6 m x 1.7 m chassis floor, Hexcel Reinforcements UK worked alongside BLS to engineer two carbon fiber multiaxial fabrics to meet the challenging design requirements for crash loads without adding unnecessary weight.

A HiMax carbon fiber triaxial fabric was added over the complete inner surface of the chassis floor panel with additional areas of HiMax carbon fiber biaxial fabric used around the seat belt inserts and seat mounting inserts. The resulting engineered solution help ensure that, should the vehicle be involved in a high speed crash, the carbon fiber reinforcements will spread the seat belt pull-out load over the largest possible area, ensuring the integrity of the seat belt inserts co-moulded into the floor.

The E10 chassis has won Bright Lite Structures the 2015 Materials Innovation category of the ‘Most Innovative Composites Part’ Award at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE). The company has so far manufactured several hundred chassis sets with many more planned.

This story is reprinted from material from Hexcelwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.