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Articles - ACPs aluminum composite panels

Lightweight Composite Panel -  (Part I) Part II

Throughout the extensive use of high strength adhesives, composite panels are precisely joined together providing superior enhancements in relationship to conventional riveting or welding processes. Staying ahead from conventional practices allows the industry to perceive tangible savings linked to lower direct labor cost, tooling, equipment but mainly eliminating expensive rust and corrosion issues or claims.

Essentially the strength of the composite panel depends on its overall size, the surface material used, and the density of the cells inside it, the thicker the core, the higher the stiffness and strength of the panel. By careful selection of reinforcement, matrix and production process, manufacturers are able to produce industry specific composite panels. Composites designed for heavy commercial applications such as aircraft manufacturing, aerospace industry, oil exploration and military markets utilize high-strength, continuous fibers such as polyurethane foam or other dynamic materials to ensure a rigid panel that can withstand wear and tear due to loading stresses or mechanical strain. For low strength and stiffness or low stress applications such as automotive, marine, and industrial parts, a matrix composed of non-continuous fibers like paper or card can be used ensuring optimum strength-to-weight ration for the particular application.

By varying composition and thickness, compressive and tensile strength and resistance to deflection keep damage from rocks and debris as well as stress in loading and unloading to a minimum. If damage does occur, panel replacement is relatively easy and affordable and can be repaired at most auto-body repair facilities.

A generic composite panel is generally described as:

Structural Adhesives

Honeycomb Core Materials



Facing and Covering Materials

Lightweight, Engineered Profiles

Some overall benefits are:

  • Lighter (but strong) materials provide lower fuel consumption

  • Can be customized to many specific applications

  • Relatively fast implementation times

  • Noise dampening properties block out ambient noise from outside the interior

  • Resistant to harmful chemicals and heat

  • They last longer

  • Minimized structural noise

From a manufacturing or engineering standpoint:

  •  When shock and impact loads are an issue the honeycomb cell size can be adjusted to achieve different compression strengths.

  •  Working prototypes using laminated panels and sandwich panels can be developed to within 4-6 weeks of inception. The manufacturing processes is geared to maximum efficiency and optimum implementation times

  • The insulation value (R value) can range from 2.5 to up to 6 depending on the thickness of the panels. Specific customer requirements can be achieved through the use of special honeycomb cores and facings

  • The range of materials used to manufacture panels to specification makes it an attractive option for truck manufacturers

  • Versatility of design in body and door panels, hoods, roof panels, bonnets, and spoilers allow for drastic reduction in fluid drag and rolling resistance.
    Ongoing research and development is providing continuous advancements in composite performance and expanding the range of applications. The transportation industry is welcoming composite technology which may soon replace wood and metal as the material of choice.



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