Stronger than steel
Hi-tech carbon fibre could start turning up in everyday cars
technology and his company’s patented method of rapidly curing resin without the use of an autoclave were key points of the partnership with Audi.
The arrangement will be part of a project headed by the German government. Quickstep, through the Australian Government’s Climate Ready Program, has invested $1.2 million and expects the project to be completed by May.
The German initiative ‘‘ represented an enormous opportunity for us to progress RST technology in partnership with a high quality group of partners including Audi,’’ Odouard says. ‘‘ The ultimate goal is high-volume, low-cost composite component manufacturing so the industry can deliver lighter vehicles with reduced fuel consumption and CO emissions.’’
Odouard says the urgency to develop lightweight automotive materials is being driven by legislative change around the globe.
This includes new regulations expected in the US by 2017 requiring all new cars to average 6.5L/100km.
In March, Quickstep completed the first proof-of- concept painted carbon-fibre flat panel to A-class automotive standards using the resin spray technology.
Odouard says the panels have ‘‘ an exceptionally high quality finish for a rapid lay-up and curing process and exhibit material performance characteristics that are within or exceed automotive industry standards. This has the potential to provide a very substantial second growth front for the company alongside our existing activities in the aerospace sector.
‘‘ Our major focus is on the imminent commencement of manufacturing of composite components for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program.’’
High fibre: Your car could come to share the stuff of Audi’s R8 GT coupe