Audi has revealed that it will introduce a new suspension spring, made from a glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP), with a new production model this year.
The new technology promises improvements on multiple levels, being lighter, more precise, more resistant to corrosion and less expensive to produce than regular steel springs.
The new springs are made by twisting together long strands of glass fibre, each impregnated with a special epoxy resin.
More fibres are then wrapped by machine at plus-and-minus 45-degree angles around the core to counteract the stresses acting on the spring.
The complete item is then cured and coiled at high temperatures. The new spring is thicker than a regular steel item, although it uses fewer coils.
Audi says despite the extra thickness, the new GFRP springs weigh in at just 1.58kg, compared to around 2.7kg for a regular steel spring.
“The GFRP springs save weight at a crucial location in the chassis system. We are therefore making driving more precise and enhancing vibrational comfort,” Audi’s Ulrich Hackenberg said.
Production of the glass-polymer springs uses less energy than their steel counterparts, and the company says the new technology also allows for more precise tuning to match driving conditions and modes.
Durability is also promised to improve, with the new springs impervious to corrosion and, Audi says, cleaning chemicals and road grime.
Audi will introduce the new springs with an “upper midsized model” later this year.
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