Stemergy: Renewable Fibre Technology

Electric Prototype Racing Car Utilizes Flax-Reinforced and Recycled Composites

23 April 2012

Umeco (Heanor, U.K.) reported on April 19 that recycled composites and flax-reinforced composites products born out of joint development programs involving Umeco have been used to manufacture parts for the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV, an all-electric prototype racing car demonstrating the potential of sustainable "green" technologies in the motorsport industry.

Jointly developed by Lola Group and Drayson Racing Technologies, the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV is destined to take part in the FIA Formula E World Championship Series in 2013.

Lola's use of recycled composite materials follows the completion of a collaborative research and development program involving Umeco, WMG at the University of Warwick and ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd.

Carbon fibres from out of life MTM49 epoxy prepreg were reclaimed by ELG and then re-impregnated with Umeco's MTM49 toughened epoxy resin. WMG, Lola and Umeco performed a series of tests to determine the mechanical and impact properties of the material, with comparisons being drawn against the original virgin prepregs. Test showed minimal loss of strength and similar fiber stiffness to virgin prepreg. Lola has since manufactured parts for its Lola-Drayson B12/69EV using this product.

In the program, WMG carried out extensive research and testing supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Warwick Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (WIMRC); Composites Evolution supplied the woven flax material and Umeco impregnated the material with its MTM28 and MTM49 epoxy resins.

Dr. James Meredith, research fellow at WMG, worked with Dr. Sophie Cozien-Cazuc, project manager at Umeco, and Lola engineers Sam Carter and Ed Collings to develop the flax-reinforced composites. Development activity focussed on Umeco's MTM28 and MTM49 toughened epoxy resins, originally developed for the manufacture of components requiring high damage tolerance. Lola was involved from the onset, setting the performance criteria for the structures they planned to manufacture. They have since produced a range of parts for the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV using MTM28/Biotex Flax and MTM49/Biotex Flax, and have achieved outstanding results.

Flax fibers have similar mechanical properties to glass fibers, but with lower weight and environmental impact, and they also have extremely good vibration damping and insulating characteristics. Through the application of recycled and flax-reinforced composites, as well as inductive charging, composite battery power, moveable aerodynamics and electrical regenerative damping, the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV racing car exhibits sustainable green technologies, making it one of the world's most innovative cleantech motorsport projects.

The B12/69EV, which develops 850 hp, aims to be the fastest electric-powered racecar to lap a circuit.


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Stemergy bio-fiber is focused on producing and supplying renewable bio-fibres - derived from annual stem fiber plants such as flax and hemp - to the expanding global bio-fiber marketplace.