The load compartment well in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class must safely accommodate the 48V on-board power supply battery. LANXESS’s Tepex dynalite continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite materials are now being used in place of metal to lightweight the structure by 30% while still handling the mechanical stresses placed on the part. The strength of the composite material will prevent the battery from breaking through the compartment in the event of a crash, as well as keep fluids from flowing in and out of the area. 

Using a hybrid molding process, a blank is made from polyamide-6-based Tepex dynalite and reinforced with two layers of continuous-glass-fiber fabrics. LANXESS’s Polyamide 6 Durethan is injected to strengthen and stiffen the component. A stamp is used to form the part, preventing the composite material from breaking. Using advanced calculations to simulate the draping process, LANXESS is able to determine the water cutting process as well as analyze potential weaknesses in the tooling. The rounded corners and orientation of the continuous fibers of the load compartment are also simulated, increasing precision in manufacturing, and assisting in foreseeing the mechanical behavior of the part. These detailed steps add up to savings of both time and money. 

Dr. Klaus Vonberg, an application expert for Tepex at LANXESS, explained, “In the event of a crash, the battery must not penetrate or in any way damage the recess wall. This is ensured by the high strength and stiffness of our fabric-based composite material. The composite design also ensures that the load compartment well is leaktight, preventing the ingress and egress of fluids like water and battery electrolyte.” 

“We also see huge potential in electric vehicles – so for safety devices, complete battery system housings or components for the stowage space now available under the ‘hood’ – because our lightweight structural material is much lighter than metal and so helps to extend the range of electric vehicles,” Dr. Vonberg added.