Qatu, M., Abu-Shams, M., and Hajianmaleki, M., "Application of Laminated Composite Materials in Vehicle Design: Theories and Analyses of Composite Beams," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 6(2):1276-1282, 2013, doi:10.4271/2013-01-1943.
With rising fuel prices, lightweight structures and materials (like composites) are receiving more attention. Composite materials offer high stiffness to weight and strength to weight ratios when compared with traditional metallic materials. Traditionally, composite materials were generally costly which made them only attractive to very limited industries (e.g., the defense industry). Advances in their manufacturing and new innovations have brought the cost of these materials down and made them reasonably competitive. They have gained more and more usage in the last 3 decades in the aerospace industry and have recently been gaining more usage in the automotive industry. In automotive design, they yield lighter structures which have positive impact on attributes like fuel economy, emission and others. Proper modeling and analyses need to be performed to make sure that other attributes (e.g. durability, noise, vibration and harshness or NVH) are assessed properly and remain competitive. Composite materials offered for real applications in the automotive industry vary from thermo-plastics to laminated and fiber-reinforced structures. This paper will focus on laminated beams and their applications in the auto industry.