Innovative light-weight design led to a new generation of energy efficient and cost-effective vehicles. It is estimated that every 10% reduction in vehicle weight can cut fuel consumption by about 7% for traditional vehicles. For electric cars, light-weight structure can reduce the electric propulsion due to low battery capacity and low excitation of power traction.
Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) composites have been identified as a key enabling technology to reduce energy consumption with a high strength-to-weight ratio of structural property for modern light-weight vehicle design. On the other hand, CFRP fabrication methods such as injection molding, compression molding and thermoforming require expensive facilities and equipment which cause high costs and long process cycles in comparison to well-established metal fabrication processes.
Therefore, a framework that provides the knowledge of structure-property relationship for CFRP products becomes the key to the success of green and light-weight vehicle design. A few types of CFRP composites of interest are listed below,
- Unidirectional fiber composite
- Woven composite
- Short fiber composite
- Long fiber composite
A detailed study on unidirectional fiber composite and woven composite can be found in our 2019 JMPS paper. In particular, a three-scale material model is realized by the concatenation of the material network for each composite.