PolyOne announced its lightweight, carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) underbody brace is now offered as a performance upgrade for the current C7 generation of GM’s Chevrolet Corvette Z06. 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.
The company produced the continuous composite-profile braces using pultrusion technology. PolyOne says the braces reduce weight compared to aluminum. The braces also increasing flexural stiffness for improved structural integrity and long-term fatigue strength.
“Our Glasforms team evaluated several composite types and identified a solution with optimal performance. The carbon fiber-reinforced composite part is 17% lighter than the stock aluminum part, and the composite held up well in GM’s extensive vibration, shake and road test regimen,” said Matthew Borowiec, general manager, PolyOne Advanced Composites – the company’s new platform it created after it acquired Gordon Composites and Polystrand. “We are proud that our team’s expertise in materials and engineering is helping to boost the legendary performance of the Corvette.”
General Motors uses the Corvette as a validation vehicle for many of its new technologies. GM has a 60-year history with composites. In 1953, Molded Fiber Glass launched the first production model of the Corvette with fiberglass body panels. In 1972, the Corvette’s body panels were made with sheet molding compounds (SMC) for the first time. All Corvettes since 1973 have used SMC body panels. As recently as last year, Continental Structural Plastics introduced its TCA Ultra Lite body panel for the Corvette.