Lightweighting remains a continuing challenge for automotive manufacturers even as more and more vehicles are turning electric and losing their traditional combustion components. Although the energy capacity of advanced lithium-ion batteries has improved considerably over recent years, their weight may still account for 600 to 800 kg depending on car size and targeted reach.
Body components and especially closures have always been in the focus of lightweighting in automotive engineering, since they form some of the biggest parts of vehicles. Even if you reduce their thickness by just one tenth of a millimeter, you can save a lot of weight. However, on most modern cars these parts have already become so thin that further thickness reductions will create problems in terms of buckling strength and rigidity, resulting in insufficient crash protection.
In the light of these constraints, Henkel and RLE International have undertaken a collaborative study targeted at reducing the weight of closures, fenders, pillars, bumpers etc. without compromising stiffness and crash performance in line with standard automotive crash scenarios.