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Lightweight Engineering as a Booster for New Mobility

Applications of lightweight engineering are widespread in modern mobility concepts and include automotive components, aircraft structures, consumer electronics and architectural elements. The field continues to evolve as new materials and technologies emerge, driving innovation in various industries.

Lightweight Chassis from Ruf CTR Anniversary with Spaceframe mounted on Carbon Fiber Monocoque Tub
Lightweight Chassis from Ruf CTR Anniversary with Spaceframe mounted on Carbon Fiber Monocoque Tub

But what means lightweight engineering and what are the key aspects of this enginnering artistry?

Lightweight engineering focuses on the development and utilization of materials and structures that are lightweight yet durable.

The primary goal is to achieve optimal performance and functionality while minimizing the overall weight of a product or structure.

CAD Model of RUF CTR Anniversary Monocoque Tub
CAD Model of RUF CTR Anniversary Monocoque Tub

Those are the key aspects of lightweight engineering:

Material selection involves the careful choice of materials with high strength-to-weight ratios, including advanced composites, aluminum, titanium, and high-strength steels, to ensure essential structural integrity while minimizing weight.

In multi-material design, different materials are strategically combined within a structure to maximize their individual strengths, mitigate weaknesses, and achieve a harmonious balance between strength, stiffness, and weight.

Structural/topological optimization employs advanced design and analysis techniques to create structures that efficiently utilize materials. This includes optimizing shapes, sizes, and layouts to enhance performance while reducing overall weight.

Advanced manufacturing techniques leverage innovative processes such as additive manufacturing (3D printing), composite molding, and other precision methods to produce lightweight components with intricate geometries.

CAD Design of the Production Tool – Mold Design
CAD Design of Monocoque's Production Tool

So what are now the advantages of lightweight components and systems with optimized strenght-weight-ratio and why are they so crucial for sustainable mobility concepts?

Putting it in a nutshell: lighter vehicles result in lower fuel consumption and emissions and that means reducing the consumption of raw materials and energy.

The truly difficult factor in lightweight construction should be mentioned in conclusion:

Safety issues must be taken into consideration throughout the whole developing process!

While reducing weight is a primary goal, safety remains the most considerable factor. Engineers must ensure that lightweight designs meet or exceed safety standards to protect users and occupants.

FEA Simulation of Carbon Fiber Monocoque Tub
FEA Simulation of Carbon Fiber Monocoque Tub

Good for us and our customers that VELA Performance is one of only a few companies worldwide certified by the World Motor Sports Authority FIA for the calculation of safety structures. Means we check important component functions using the finite element analysis.

In one of our upcoming posts, we will delve more deeply into the specifics of FEM calculation and other simulation methods.

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