Colorado Springs, CO (PRWEB) September 19, 2008
You don't need a bulletproof car, but what if you could have one that gets better gas mileage than your current vehicle and at a lower purchase price? A newly announced composite-manufacturing process makes this possible. Calculations based on the 2009 Ford Taurus show that by replacing the vehicle's sheet-metal skin with a composite skin, one so strong that it stops a .44 magnum bullet, would reduce weight by over 300 lbs and increases fuel efficiency from 28 mpg to 32 mpg hwy. Non-armor composite skins are at least 50% lighter and will save additional fuel and emissions.
While working on advanced armor technologies, Decipherst developed a method of making composite panels that significantly increases their strength-to-weight ratio. The presses, called Solid-"Hot Iso-static Press", are a fraction of the cost of current presses and rapidly produce large, complex-shaped parts. The Solid-HIP, while compact, produces very high pressures equally over large parts. In simple terms, mass-produced composite skins are now possible.
"These materials won't be in cars this year," acknowledges the company's CEO, Brace E. Barber, "but the fact remains that one day very soon, steel will be replaced by composites, and our machines are a leap forward in that evolution."
The automobile industry is in serious trouble directly related to the size and weight of vehicles. According to CNN, "For the first four months of this year, truck and SUV sales are down a collective 24.8 percent." The CAFE standards for passenger vehicles will rise from the current 27.5 mpg to 35.7 mpg by 2015. Estimates show that the Solid-HIP composites will carry the industry more than half way to the new standards.
The transition from steel to composites will take several years but the fuel savings and lower emissions will be well worth the effort. The difficulty of the conversion for automakers is reduced significantly by the introduction of the Solid-HIP system. Automakers will have immediate access to custom-made, low-cost machines that can replace their existing processes. This process will go a long way to making the automobile industry bullet proof, even if the cars aren't.