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C8 Composite Body Panels

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  • C8 Composite Body Panels

    While we wait for the official reveal of the Next Generation Corvette, it is safe to assume that the C8 body panels will be made of the same materials that are currently used for the C7. These are:

    1) Sheet Molded Composite (SMC)
    2) Carbon Fiber
    3) Plastics

    Continental Structural Plastics is the supplier of the SMC body panels that are used on the C7 and will continue to supply SMC body panels for the C8 according to information that became available in 2016 when the Huntington County Tab revealed details pertinent to the Next Generation Corvette related to the expansion of the CSP Huntington Plant. http://www.huntingtoncountytab.com/c...-two-new-lines

    The process employed in producing the SMC body panels can be seen in the following video from CSP.



    While the Corvette body was made of fiberglass for first 20 years (1953-1972), sheet-molded composite began to be used in 1973.

    From GM Media:

    Starting with the third generation in 1968, the body parts were manufactured with a press mold process, whereby the fiberglass material and resin were shaped in a die-like tool that produced smoother parts more quickly. It was a significant advancement in forming technology and laid the groundwork for a change in the body panels’ material in 1973. That year, the composition changed from conventional fiberglass to sheet-molded composite, or SMC, which was composed of fiberglass, resin and a catalyst formed under high heat and pressure. The ratio of resin to fiberglass was reduced with SMC, while the fiberglass itself was a bit coarser. The new material helped produce panels that were smoother right out of the mold, resulting in higher-quality paint finishes.

    All Corvettes since 1973 have used SMC body panels, but the material composition has changed dramatically, featuring less traditional fiberglass and more lightweight plastic. The early SMC material created parts that were stronger and more rigid, but more brittle. As SMC technology and production experience evolved, Corvette engineers were able to alter the material composition and the body parts’ specifications to trim the Corvette’s curb weight. Mostly, that happened through making thinner body panels, because SMC was denser and stronger than conventional fiberglass.

  • #2
    Outstanding thread Jag. So much great information. Thank you! One of the questions I often get asked is what is the percentage of fiberglass (glass fibers) in a current Corvette body panel. Thanks to Tadge, I learned that starting in the 2016 Corvettes, glass fibers are now down to 20% of SMC composition.

    I wonder if that percentage would further drop with the C8???
    GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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    • #3
      Thanks jagamajajaran for your very good info.

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      • #4
        great video. I had seen that a while back but was nice to watch again. Great info.

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        • #5
          The smc is cool as it has resilient qualities that can occur in daily driver duty..l

          buffs right out and the smc doesn't dent as easily.....just bounces back to shape ..

          The older fragile fiberglass from early generations would imo be a pain ...

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          • #6
            I am sure they continue to improve the materials and process. It does seem like a terrific compromise between cost, ease and quality of manufacture and durability.

            http://www.temp.speautomotive.com/SP...pdf/CF/CF3.pdf

            Would not be surprised if C8 uses CF-SMC. Carbon-fiber composite sheets.

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            • #7
              fvs, one fantastic article you found for us! Thank you. I love engineering of all kinds, in this case body panel engineering.
              GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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              • #8
                Carbon Fiber will probably be used a lot more in the future. If you look at the difference in cost/lb. And carbon panels will be lighter and stronger. I would pay the overall difference if a car is 100 pct carbon fiber.

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