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NAA Project News: SPLICE project to develop polymer springs to help accelerate vehicle lightweighting

Researchers at WMG, part of the University of Warwick, together with Force Technology and the Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA), have won research funding worth £244,090 from Innovate UK for a project that will develop polymer springs for vehicles in order to reduce vehicle weight, so improving fuel efficiency and lowering emissions…

The project, led by the Institute of Spring Technology, involves researchers at WMG developing a method to create accurate flat blank polymer templates with bespoke reinforced plastic cross-section that automotive manufacturers can then use to manufacture polymer springs for the automotive/transport sector.

The project is being managed by the NAA, and Force Technology, a world-class specialist supplier of precision springs, will design and manufacture the springs.

Dr Ben Wood from WMG, the lead researcher on the project, said: “The ‘blanks’ and the final springs will be made of a thermoplastic material reinforced with fibres which, when used in the automotive sector, will result in improved efficiency through lightweighting, resulting in lower emissions, increased fuel efficiency and improvements in air quality.”

The researchers will devise material specifications for the reinforced polymer spring material, based on load cases, usage criteria and desired thermo-mechanical properties, high and low temperature performance, creep and fatigue life.

Adrian May, Chief Executive, The Institute of Spring Technology comments, “The Institute of Spring Technology is delighted to be the lead organisation for the SPLICE project and is proud to be part of a consortium that includes leading experts in material science and spring making. The level of knowledge, skill, energy and enthusiasm within the consortium will ensure a successful outcome to the initial feasibility study with an aim of keeping British spring making at the spearhead of technology and manufacturing.”

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