Williams claims cost breakthrough in carbon composites

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Williams Advanced Engineering has developed two carbon reinforced polymers it says offer a “step-change” in the cost and benefits of composites in motorsport and other sectors.

According to the company, Racetrak and 223 offer comparable performance to existing composites, such as a high strength-to-weight ratio, impressive stiffness and excellent fatigue and environmental resistance, but at a reduced cost.

Williams Advanced Engineering has published a White Paper to showcase the carbon reinforced polymers’ (CFRP) properties and the advantages they can offer.

These include benefits in Racetrak and 233’s manufacturing, during their use and recycling, and the new approaches to vehicle design and manufacture they offer.

Iain Bomphray, chief technology specialist of lightweight structures at Williams Advanced Engineering, said, “Racetrak and 223 are just two examples of a new generation of technologies, developed and commercialized by Williams Advanced Engineering.

“With this approach, we have the potential to develop new, growing areas of business that will also make significant contributions to the industries in which we work.”

Despite the opportunity to reduce vehicle weight that the use of CFRP offers, most composite production methods use expensive materials and involve lengthy process times. They also incur a relatively high scrap rate of around 30%, compounded by the challenges of recovering the carbon from pre-impregnated off-cuts, and of finding value from the material at the end of the product life.

Paul McNamara, technical director of Williams Advanced Engineering, said, “We are focusing our expertise on energy management, aerodynamics, thermodynamics and light weighting. As tools for efficiency improvement, these are all highly synergistic, so considering them as an integrated system allows us to increase significantly the total benefits.

“We have undoubtedly learned a great deal from success in Formula 1 and Formula E, they are high-profile examples of what we do. Behind closed doors, we are solving challenging problems for world-class companies across a wide range of sectors and working with some of the most highly-regarded manufacturers on next-generation, low carbon technologies.”

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