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Multi Composite Makes the Car Eco-smart

Published: 26 January 2012

Cars built with composite materials that are both lightweight and strong and which also acts as a battery. A fully realizable goal according to a LTU research group in the field of polymeric construction materials. Among other things the group is working to develop multi-functional, high-strength composites, for the automotive, aerospace and wind energy industry.

– The material can withstand high loads and help cut carbon emissions, says Professor Janis Varna. Multifunctional composites that act as batteries is an area that has attracted much attention and that has been covered in both New Scientist and the New York Times. A new graduate school starts in 2012 with a focus on lightweight technology where LTU works with KTH, Chalmers and University West. In addition, LTU is starting a new Master's program in the field of composite materials

Professor Janis Varna leads the research around the composites in close collaboration with visiting professor Leif Asp, research director at Swerea Sicomp. The cooperation between LTU and Sicomp has been successful and resulted in that the team today are among the world elite in the field.

High-strength, lightweight composites that for instance can store energy and partly replace heavy batteries in vehicles, high performance natural fiber composites based on flax and hemp, the recycling of carbon fibers and wood-based bionano composites, where the research is led by Professor Kristiina Oksman, are areas where research is conducted.

Foundation for Strategic Research, SSF, VINNOVA, EU and the National Flight Research Program are among the financiers. Among business partners are Volvo, Airbus and Ruag but also local companies such as ABB Plastics, APC Composite and Composite Scandinavia.

– LTU's combined expertise makes us a strong player in the field and there is a large interest from the industry who want to increase knowledge of composites both in research and education, says Leif Asp.

Source: LTU Review, nr. 1, 2012