ADVANCED VEHICLE PERFORMANCE BY REPLACING CONVENTIONAL VEHICLE WHEEL WITH A CARBON FIBER REINFORCEMENT COMPOSITE WHEEL
Automotive industry is going through a transformational phase with increased pressure to reduce weight, increase volume and remain sustainable. Composites have traditionally played a key role in achieving these objectives, although at a high cost and low volume requirements.
With the advancement in the composites technologies, resulting in availability of low-cost raw materials, support for high volume production, composites usage and adoption are playing a key role in the automotive industry.
Several systems and sub-systems of the automobile can be replaced with components made up of composites materials.
In our project, we have carried out an exercise to understand the benefits of replacing conventional wheel material with carbon fiber reinforcement composite for the vehicle wheel. Here, we could reduce wheel weight, unsprung mass of the vehicle, and improved rotation inertia. We considered carbon fiber reinforcement and epoxy resin system. Several boundary and loading conditions were considered, such as tire inflation pressure, cornering, accelerating or breaking and vehicle weight. A linear static analysis of the wheel was carried out in Optistruct and the results calculated empirically. The wheel weight was reduced by 40-50% when compared to conventional materials.