Why are natural fiber substrates used in the Mercedes-Benz?
An important step towards higher performance applications was achieved with the door panels of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and in the new M-Class and the R-Class. The wood fiber materials previously used for the door panels were replaced by a plant fiber-reinforced mat material embedded in an epoxy resin matrix.
What weight reduction was achieved by Mercedes-Benz?
Although natural fiber substrates could have been as a weight savings of up to 30%, a remarkable weight reduction of about 20% was achieved in the Mercedes.
What about the molding capabilities of the natural fiber door panels? Natural fiber substrates could be molded in complicated 3-dimentional shapes, thus making it more suitable for door trim panels than the previously used materials.
How strong are natural fiber substrates?
Although there are many considerations that go into selecting a material for any given application, from the infrastructure side, stiffness is a major design objective. Natural fiber substrates provide mechanical properties; in particular, the required stiffness and strength are important for passenger protection in the event of an accident.
Is natural fiber readily available for automotive applications?
Natural fiber, with its good availability and a comparatively low price, are increasingly cultivated specifically for industrial application. In the past where mainly by-products of the textile industry were used, primarily because of their low price, natural fibers are now increasingly used.
Why FlexForm Technologies?
Because FlexForm Technologies natural fiber substrates can meet even the most demanding performance specification as required by the Mercedes for the door panels in the new M-Class and the R-Class.
For further information regarding the use of natural fiber in a vehicle, visit www.FlexFormTech.com to learn about molding the future with natural fiber composites.