Hexcel Corporation and NaCa Systems, a supplier of natural fiber composite automotive interior parts, have jointly developed a lightweight carbon fiber prepreg and wood fiber composite sports car seat back using press molding.

According to the companies, the process can reduce production time for carbon fiber (CFRP) reinforced plastic and wood fiber composite parts.

The car set back incorporates an improved version of its HexPly M77CS epoxy prepreg, a hot melt, thermosetting epoxy matrix suitable for short-cure cycles, which has an increased resin content to improve the CFRP to wood fiber composite bond strength despite the slightly higher resin uptake seen with the natural material component. The carbon fiber prepreg is cured at around 145°C for four to five minutes.

Hexcel says that the seat back has a 40% weight saving when compared to a typical injection molded plastic component and a better CO2 footprint than a full carbon fiber part. Unlike plastic molded parts, the prepreg and wood fiber structure does not produce sharp edged pieces when damaged. In addition, wood fiber composites also increase sound absorption, contributing to improved noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) damping within the vehicle interior, the company added.

The NaCa Systems seat back will be on display at JEC World 2020.

This story uses material from Hexcel, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.