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Aluminum subframe with HexPly patches.
Aluminum subframe with HexPly patches.

Hexcel’s HexPly carbon prepreg patch technology has been selected as a finalist for the JEC Innovation Awards 2019 in the Automotive Category. The composite solution improves the performance of aluminum subframes by reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

HexPly patches consist of uni-directional carbon fiber and an epoxy matrix with fast curing self-adhesive properties that enable it to bond to metal in a highly efficient one-step process.

500 grams of HexPly prepreg were added to the aluminum subframe, and the test results demonstrated a positive effect on improving overall NVH performance. Aluminum subframes are significantly lighter than traditional steel versions.

Hexcel developed HexPly carbon prepreg patch technology to provide an innovative way of locally stiffening and reinforcing aluminum parts to provide noise and vibration management functionality.

This technology was tested by Saint Jean Industries, Hexcel’s partner in the award application, on an 18.5kg rear aluminum subframe from a series production vehicle.

The company performed modal analysis over the range of frequencies experienced by subframes, taking into account different engine types across a range of vehicle speeds.

Based on this analysis, Hexcel calculated the carbon layers and orientations required to optimize mechanical performance and the vibration response.

According to Hexcel, benefits of this innovation include lower production costs, energy savings, increased driver comfort, production flexibility and part count reduction.

The technology is adaptable for thermal engine, electric or fuel cell vehicles, allowing OEMs to benefit from a fully developed industrialized solution with noise and vibration simulation tools already available to optimize part performance.

Hexcel will showcase its new HexPly carbon patch technology at JEC World 2019, among other composite innovations for the automotive, marine, wind energy and aerospace sectors.

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