Lightweight garage # 25 Bioconcept Car @ FNR

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Lightweight garage, News

The vehicle

Behind this door is a Porsche from the world of motor racing. Lightweight construction is a common means of optimizing the vehicle in this area. Fiber-reinforced plastics are often used, with glass and/or carbon fibers. The Bioconcept Car takes a different approach: plastics reinforced with plant-based fibers are used for the hood, doors and rear spoiler. The Porsche Cayman GT4 with over 400 hp and a top speed of 275 km/h serves as the basis. The 1,300 kg Porsche has to compete in its class against vehicles such as the KTM X-Bow GT4 or McLaren 570S GT4, while BMW and Mercedes-AMG are also used in the GT4.

©FNR/elfimages, Bioconcept-Car Porsche GT4 with a body made of biocomposites. A project funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

The technology

Fiber-reinforced plastics have been used in the automotive industry for decades. Natural fibers have also been used in vehicles such as Ford's Soybean Car. In racing, however, such materials have hardly ever been used, which gives the Bioconcept Car a unique selling point. The flax fibers used in the vehicle have a high lightweight construction potential due to their low density of max. 1.5 g/cm³; compared to glass fibers, they are about half as light. Flax fibers can also be compared with glass fibers in terms of their mechanical properties, as the fibers have a similar modulus of elasticity. However, the tensile strength differs considerably, with flax fibers withstanding only about half the tension.

Due to the increasing interest in sustainable and environmentally friendly products, more and more CO2-neutral or CO2-reduced products need to be developed. The use of natural fibers makes it possible to bind CO2 in products and, with the additional use of biodegradable matrix material, to ensure complete degradability. The natural fiber composite material used is therefore becoming increasingly important. This vehicle demonstrates that the concept of sustainability also plays a role in motor racing. Perhaps one day, a racing series consisting of vehicles with biodegradable bodywork elements will even be possible.

The lightweight aspect

The low density of flax fibers and other natural fibers makes them suitable for lightweight construction applications. Unfortunately, however, natural fibers have significantly poorer mechanical properties than the current favorite, carbon fiber. The idea of sustainability is currently still the driving force behind the use of natural fibers.

©FNR/Toni Alex, Rear view of the Porsche GT4 bioconcept car with a body made of biocomposites. A project funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).