Nissan’s Breakthrough: safer and lighter vehicles in carbon fiber

In order to meet consumer’s demands for safety, comfort, and autonomy, the various automotive companies continuously seek innovation in various fields. One of the driver’s needs is for example the lightness of the vehicle in order to achieve the expected results.

The choice of materials becomes the top priority.

Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) are commonly used in various industries such as aerospace. In the case of the automotive sector, they were too expensive to industrialize both in terms of time and cost.

Hideyuki Sakamoto, EVP of Nissan Motor Co. explains

“We have always considered CFRP as a material for future generations of cars. But when it comes to reality, CFRP can be used only for limited models and appears to be more challenging for mass-market production. Indeed, costs are high, and complex designs are required to shape CFRP. The challenge was to industrialize its production process in order to reduce costs and development time.”

CFRP mass production project

Starting from 2015, ESI Group supports Nissan in the design of industrial products and production methods of different vehicles, supporting its CFRP challenge

In 2018 their collaboration strengthened, the two companies kicked off the CFRP mass production project

The process of Compression Resin Transfer Molding (C-RTM)

However, Nissan’s engineers have adopted a new approach with the help of the ESI solution. To overcome the difficulty of modeling the CFRP parts, they applied Compression Resin Transfer Molding (C-RTM) method. This process involves:

  1. forming carbon fiber into the right shape
  2. setting it in a die with a slight gap between the upper die and the carbon fibers
  3. injecting resin into the fiber and leaving it to harden

Nissan’s engineers elaborate a system to reproduce the permeability of carbon fiber resin. by visualizing the flow behavior of resin in a mold using an in-mold temperature sensor and a transparent mold. In fact, they observed and compared the behavior of the resin flow in two different molds:  in a die using an in-die temperature sensor and a transparent die

The result of the successful simulation was a high-quality component with shorter development time. Using this Virtual Prototype of the product, Nissan triumphed in its mission creating:

  • a high-quality component
  • with a development time reduced by 50%
  • reduced by 80% of a single molding
Cristel de Rouvray, CEO of ESI Group adds

“We are proud of the support we have brought Nissan over the years and throughout this project. We have helped them succeed in the full development process, from the design to the manufacturing of mass-produced CFRP parts, thus enabling their breakthrough for lighter and safer vehicles. Nissan’s success embodies our mission to enable industrial players to commit to outcomes. With our Smart Manufacturing solution and our historical expertise in materials, we helped them reach their ambitions”


Subscribe now to our quarterly Compositi newsletter
to stay updated on news, technologies and activities 


Source: ESI Group

Leggi anche

The growing demand for composite components increasingly requires efficient and cost-effective manufacturing solutions. Massivit recently launched the 10000 unit and its additively manufactured mandrels, useful for forming hollow composite components with smooth and regular internal surfaces. The article illustrates the advantages of printing with water-breakable material and the possible economic savings….

Leggi tutto…

La crescente richiesta di componenti compositi necessita sempre più di soluzioni di produzione efficienti e convenienti. Massivit ha lanciato di recente l’unità 10000 e i suoi mandrini realizzati con produzione additiva, utili per formare componenti compositi cavi con superfici interne lisce e regolari. Nell’articolo vengono illustrati i vantaggi della stampa con materiale frangibile in acqua e i possibili risparmi economici….

Leggi tutto…

The European CIRCE project (Circular Economy Model for Carbon Fiber Prepregs), born from the collaboration of five Italian companies and financed under the LIFE program (LIFE ENV/IT/00155), has studied how to reuse the scraps of carbon fiber prepreg to produce structural components such as car parts, brake discs, toe caps for safety shoes and more….

Leggi tutto…

Il progetto europeo CIRCE (Circular Economy Model for Carbon Fibre Prepregs), nato dalla collaborazione di cinque aziende italiane e finanziato nell’ambito del programma LIFE (LIFE ENV/IT/00155), ha studiato come riutilizzare gli sfridi dei prepreg in fibra di carbonio per produrre componenti strutturali come parti auto, dischi freno, puntali per scarpe antinfortunistiche e non solo….

Leggi tutto…

The use of CFRP can significantly reduce CO2 emissions in transportation, including airplanes and automobiles. However, a lot of CO2s is released during the production of CFRP, and most used and waste materials end up in landfills. With the growing market of CFRP, there is a strong demand for the development of recycling technologies. Toyota Industries have developed technology that aligns recycled carbon fibers from used CFRP into a uniform, consistent yarn, adapting its well-established cotton spinning methods to carbon fiber….

Leggi tutto…