Audi presents a novel multi-material Space Frame for the next generation of the Audi A8
After years of research and development, a complete mix of materials is being used in a mass-production car for the first time. This unique multi-material frame is packaged in the beautiful lines of the Audi A8.
The German OEM Audi has designed a frame that includes carbon fibre, advanced steels, aluminium and magnesium in the weight-bearing body structure. Audi has described the result as the right material, in the right place and at the right time.
A collaborative effort
The major R&D laboratories and OEMs in Europe have been studying multi-material structures for years, aiming to create a car that would not only be lighter but would also release the full potential of each of the materials involved.
This long-awaited breakthrough was anticipated by numerous European projects, in which Bax & Company took part as a partner or in making the project come to life. SuperLightCar as a forerunner, followed by ALIVE, ENLIGHT and the current ALLIANCE. All these projects were defined to solve some of the major challenges in the multi-material approach and have contributed to innovate in lightweight design.
The right material, in the right place and at the right time
The 58% of the body of a car is made of aluminium, a material that Audi has long been familiar with. Aluminium provides lightweight and powerful impact absorption. High strength steel is used in the critical locations to provide enhanced safety to the passengers. Ultra-light Magnesium and Carbon Fibre (CFRP) are employed in minor measure, but with substantial benefits to the structure stability and weight distribution.
To reach this improved version of their famous Space Frame, Audi has had to overcome the challenges associated with joining diverse materials, adding up to 14 different techniques used in each car, including the innovative remote laser welding for use with aluminium.
More information about body development at Audi can be found in the Audi Media Center.
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