Hexcel and Secar Technologie GmbH Develop Audi R8 Carbon Fiber Engine Bay X-Brace with Hexcel HexMC-i 2000

July 02 2018

Audi, Hexcel and Secar Technologie GmbH, Hoonigsberg, AUSTRIA joined forces to develop a composite engine bay brace for the high-performance Audi R8. This cross-shaped component braces the R8’s mid-mounted V10 engine and provides increased torsional stiffness, enhancing the driving dynamics. The project’s aim was to produce a composite version of the existing aluminum part that would offer significant light weighting as well as enhancing the visual appearance of the part by providing a more organic molded shape. The process is patented by Audi.

For the R8 X-Brace, foam filled pullwinding carbon fiber tubes were produced and then overmolded with HexMC-i 2000 carbon fiber/epoxy molding compound. SECAR and Hexcel were also able to optimize tool loading and press cure cycles to provide the optimum processing parameters for HexMC-i with the M77 snap cure epoxy resin allowing a weight reduction of 15% over the previous aluminum version.

One further benefit of HexMC-I is the distinctive and attractive visual surface finish that was another key requirement from Audi’s development engineers.

The joint development program between Hexcel and SECAR clearly validated the lightweighting opportunity and one-shot molding process for the new composite X-Brace and succeeded in qualifying HexMC-i with Audi as an OEM.

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