CLEVELAND—A lightweight, carbon fiber-reinforced underbody brace developed by PolyOne is now offered as a performance upgrade for the current C7 generation of General Motors’ popular Chevrolet Corvette sports car.
PolyOne Advanced Composites Glasforms formulated a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material for the C7 Corvette Z06 and non-Z06 underbody braces. The braces are reported to reduce weight and retain torsional stiffness versus the production aluminum versions, while also increasing flexural stiffness for improved structural integrity and long-term fatigue strength. PolyOne produces the continuous composite-profile braces using pultrusion technology.
“Our Glasforms team evaluated several composite types and identified a solution with optimal performance,” said Matthew Borowiec, general manager, PolyOne Advanced Composites, in a company release. “The carbon fiber-reinforced composite part is 17 percent lighter than the stock aluminum part, and the composite held up well in GM’s extensive vibration, shake, and road test regimen. We are proud that our team’s expertise in materials and engineering is helping to boost the legendary performance of the Corvette.”
Weight savings—combined with high performance—is key in the automotive industry. Lighter weight not only helps make performance cars faster, but also corresponds to better fuel efficiency in all vehicle types. General Motors uses the Corvette as a validation vehicle for many of its new technologies, including new, lightweight composites.
The Corvette Z06 won last year’s Car and Driver Lightning Lap with the fastest speed, which also ranked as the second fastest lap time in the history of the event.
PolyOne Advanced Composites, created in 2016 as a platform within PolyOne Specialty Engineered Materials, is focused on producing advanced composites with exceptional strength-to-weight ratios.