Use of Composites Is On the Rise in the Transportation Industry-min

According to National Geographic, a megacity is an urban area with more than 10 million inhabitants. In 1950, the only two megacities were New York-Newark and Tokyo, but today there are 22, mostly in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. By 2025, there will be 30 or more megacities. As megacities grow all over the globe, new transportation solutions will be needed to address the unique social, economic, and environmental issues associated with these large urban populations. The transportation industry is increasingly turning to composites to help them meet these unique needs.

Composites were once only used in low-volume aerospace applications. However, the need for efficiency improvements has driven the transportation industry to increase its use of composites. Composites have low density, with a high strength-to-weight ratio. The design and fabrication flexibility of composites also allows engineers to consolidate parts. This combination leads to dramatic reductions in the weight of transportation systems, which in turn benefits performance.

Here are just a few advantages of composites:

  • Heat resistance maintains dimensional control
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Up to 35 percent lighter than steel parts
  • Reduced component count through molding capability

Trains, planes, trucks, and automobiles now use composites extensively. This is because composites save on weight and are superior in durability, leading to increased fuel efficiency and a longer life. As these fuel savings add up over the years they will make a massive contribution to worldwide fossil fuel conservation efforts.

A common example of the use of composites is found in fiberglass exterior panels for cars and trucks and even mass transit now. The new German ICx high-speed train uses composites in its modular nose cone. Using composites in the nose cone instead of steel reduces fuel consumption through improved aerodynamics, minimizes axle loads and track wear, and allows capacity to be increased. The front structure can also be manufactured in one piece, reducing manufacturing and assembly time.

Composites are also increasingly found under the hood of vehicles. Bulk Molding Compound (BMC) and Sheet Molding Compound (SMC), for example, are thermoset composites which are used in manufacturing valve covers, timing chain covers, oil drain pans, and intake manifolds in trucks and automobiles. Additionally, the German ICx train has recently highlighted a number of potential applications for composites, from drive components to couplers and service concepts. The energy absorber is made of glass fiber reinforced plastics (GFRP) that excels in longevity, offers constant energy absorption behavior, and has a weight one-third that of a standard steel absorber.

Composites are increasingly becoming the materials of choice for the transportation industry. Magnum Venus Products (MVP) is proud to highlight the accomplishments of the composites industry as a whole. MVP is the premier manufacturer of composite application equipment, including pumping systems, spray guns, filament winding systems, and much more.

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