In its quest of becoming the world’s highest selling premium automaker by the end of the decade, Audi announced a new innovation in suspension spring technology that should give it the edge over its German rivals.
As is the case with Audi and many other automakers, current springs are made of steel weighing in at approximately 3,0 kg a piece. Audi’s new and innovative springs are made from glass fibre-reinforced polymer (GFRP).
Co-developed with an unnamed Italian supplier, the construction of GFRP springs consists of long glass fibres twisted together along an epoxy resin. A machine spirals on more fibres for added strength before it is baked in an oven at 100°C.
While the fibre strands of the GFRP are thicker than those of steel, it is 40 per cent lighter, as well as undercutting the weight of steel by at least a kilogram. In all, GFRP springs can reduce a car’s mass by over 4 kg, resulting in more precise vehicle dynamics, less vibration and more cabin comfort, says Audi.
Since the GFRP springs do not corrode and are not affected by chemicals, the lifespan of the new springs are believed to be longer than that of traditional springs.
It is not yet clear on which model the new springs will debut, though the 2015 Audi A7 seems a very likely option.
– Charlen Raymond