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No silver bullet

Looking at recent PR on work to integrate composites into mainstream automotive engineering by BMW, Ford, Magna, Toray etc (Financial Times & Reuters) one perhaps should first ask what in todays context is a composite?  Having accepted the move from steels (cold formed) to aluminum (using heat) it is a small step to accept multi-materials and ultimately fully integrated structures made from graded materials be they non-ferrous metal allows or particulate, short, long or continuously reinforced polymers.

Perception is 9/10th’s here but there is no one size fits all solution and many of today cutting edge light weighting implementations will be rapidly rejected on cost & sustainability grounds in favor of genuinely disruptive solutions (and yes 3D printing will be a part of this but only a small part).

 

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