Audi unveils cutting edge suspension springs

Audi unveils cutting edge suspension springs

Audi-springsAudi is introducing new, lightweight suspension springs made of fibre-glass reinforced polymer (GFRP) in an upper mid-size model before the end of the year.

The GFRP spring, which Audi developed in collaboration with an Italian supplier, even looks different to a steel spring. It is light green, the fibre strand is thicker than the wire of a steel spring, and it has a slightly larger overall diameter with a lower number of coils.

Most importantly it is 40% lighter. Whereas a steel spring for an upper mid-size model weighs nearly 2.7kg, a GFRP spring with the same properties weighs just 1.6kg. Together the four GFRP springs reduce overall weight by roughly 4.4kg, half of which is unsprung mass.

“The GFRP springs save weight at a crucial location in the chassis system. We are therefore making driving more precise and enhancing vibrational comfort,” says professor Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board of management for technical development at Audi.

The core of the springs consists of long glass fibres twisted together and impregnated with epoxy resin. A machine wraps additional fibres around this core, which is only a few millimetres in diameter, at alternating angles of plus and minus 45 degrees to the longitudinal axis.

These tension and compression plies mutually support one another to optimally absorb the stresses acting on the component. In the last production step, the blank is cured in an oven at temperatures of over 100 degrees Celsius.

The GFRP springs can be precisely tuned to their respective task. Another key feature is that it does not corrode, even after stone chipping, and is impervious to chemicals such as wheel cleaners, and it also requires far less energy than the production of steel springs.

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