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Industry-First Carbon Fiber Bumper For 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

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  • Industry-First Carbon Fiber Bumper For 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

    Interesting article with more details on the rear carbon fiber bumper of the C8.

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    logo SHAPE CORP. Produces Industry-First Carbon Fiber Bumper For 2020 Chevrolet Corvette StingrayHOME >> SHAPE CORP. Produces Industry-First Carbon Fiber Bumper For 2020 Chevrolet Corvette StingrayAUG07

    Shape Corp. engineered and manufactured the automotive industry’s first curved, multi-hollow pultruded carbon fiber bumper beam for the newly unveiled 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The bumper’s superior properties produce a very light weight component, which contributes to protecting the rear and expanded trunk.

    “As we strengthen our technology profile, the addition of carbon fiber pultrusion allows us to showcase our ability to drive innovation,” said Shape Corp. President and CEO Mark White. “The success of this project speaks volumes on the technical talent we have on our team and as a global industry leader, we will continuously expand our manufacturing capabilities on all facets of our operations.

    The ability to customize and engineer the material through various fiber types, orientations, and layups, as well as use a closed section profile, allowed engineers the freedom to optimize the design during the product development process to meet performance requirements, while reducing mass significantly from traditional metallic technologies.

    “It was a great collaboration between Shape’s engineering staff and GM engineering, operations, leadership, materials, and composites experts,” said Joe Matecki, Shape advanced product development product manager. “It was really an example of the type of monumental effort it takes and a solid customer-supplier relationship necessary to develop a truly innovative technology and get it on a car.”

    Shape’s engineers started prototyping pultruded profiles in late 2013 with a regional supplier partner, making relatively simple, straight profiles to develop our initial understanding of the manufacturing process and resulting product attributes.

    “In addition to the required quality and complexity of the targeted profile, with its multi-hollow design and thin-walls, we also needed to be able to make the pultruded profile with curvature for our targeted application, something not done in the industry today,” continued Matecki

    Shape’s engineers developed the bumper in collaboration with Thomas Technik + Innovation, a German-based fiber composite pultrusion company. The strategic partnership allowed Shape to co-develop the process for an automotive application and prototype the first multi-hollow curved pultruded profile in the automotive industry.

    Engineers at GM worked directly with Shape in the development process, eventually eying the technology for the Corvette. Shape was able to apply the technology to the Corvette design due to it’s unique technical requirements as a bumper and by overcoming a variety of barriers, including material characterization. Accurate material characterization of composites is an emerging and imperfect science, but Shape is on the leading edge, applying material models that predict failure and degradation.

    Unveiled on July 18, the 2020 Corvette Stingray is slated to begin production in late 2019.
    Last edited by John; 09-09-2019, 06:50 PM. Reason: Adding in a couple of pictures. Great find, thread Shepherd777.
    Bob Sliwa
    Currently Building an All-Electric,1963 Split-Window Coupe Restomod.

  • #2
    I like it when my bumpers are pultruded.

    Just sayin'.
    Current Vettes:
    '68 Lemans Blue 327/350 Convertible
    '91 Turquoise Convertible w/hardtop
    '14 Lime Rock Green 2LT Convertible, Black Top, Kalahari, 7-Speed, Performance Exhaust - Ordered on 4-1-2014, 2000 Status on 4-10-2014, TPW 5-12-2014, Built on 5-16-2014, Picked-up at dealership on 5-30-2014
    "Delta t = 23"


    • #3
      Yep, just learned a new word: Pultrusion. Nice.
      SunKissed, my 2015 2LT, 7MT, Black over Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Stingray convertible (One of about 40)

      Purchased 5/2/2015,
      >33,000+ miles

      Proud member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club. Check us out


      • #4
        Fascinating article. Thank you very much Shepherd777. I am now looking for a good picture fo the exposed beam, and then if i can, I would tomorrow make it a featured slider.

        Last edited by John; 09-09-2019, 05:32 PM.
        GS7 Elkhart Lake Blue, HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5ZZ high wing; 5VM vis CF ground effects pkg; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards.

        Lifetime, annual contributors, and 20+ year members of National Corvette Museum.


        • #5
          I keep wondering what happens when this bumper gets hit. From my experience carbon fiber disintegrates on impact. So is this just support for the rear bumper and sacrificial? Not needed for automotive rear impact test requirements?


          • #6
            Originally posted by C7Redneck View Post
            I keep wondering what happens when this bumper gets hit. From my experience carbon fiber disintegrates on impact. So is this just support for the rear bumper and sacrificial? Not needed for automotive rear impact test requirements?
            Good point. I usually describe carbon fiber as being shattered upon impact.

            Some composite fabricators embed Kevlar into the carbon fiber component to mitigate the tendency to shatter. But I cannot see how they could embed Kevlar in a pultrusion, and there is no mention of any Kevlar fabric.

            And cars like the McLaren and the Koenesseig have full carbon fiber tubs that envelop the passengers as the vehicles main superstructure. So the mystery continues.
            Bob Sliwa
            Currently Building an All-Electric,1963 Split-Window Coupe Restomod.


            • #7
              Years ago I had two carbon fiber windsurfing masts come off the car and get hit by a semi. The only piece I could find was 2’ of a tip. Everything else was dust!

              It makes you wonder what happens to those McLaren tubs on impact!


              • #8
                pultruded. Brings to mind a super sized Play-Doh factory pumping out C8 bumpers.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by C7Redneck View Post
                  I keep wondering what happens when this bumper gets hit. From my experience carbon fiber disintegrates on impact. So is this just support for the rear bumper and sacrificial? Not needed for automotive rear impact test requirements?
                  And I wonder what the cost is, in crash parts and labor, to repair the car after a hit. Do the auto insurance companies know about this yet?


                  • #10
                    The sprinters' artificial legs are carbon fiber? Have thought of carbon fiber as brittle. Assumed the limb was fiberglass or plastic.

                    Carbon Fiber Basics

                    Carbon is used in orthoses and prostheses as a durable, fiber-reinforced composite, similar to traditional laminations made with Perlon or Nyglass stockinettes. Carbon fabric looks flimsy until it physically and chemically bonds with a resin system to create carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).

                    With carbon fiber, Ottobock uses a thinner acrylic resin to minimize the resin-to-carbon ratio and lengthen cure time, an important advantage when laminating larger devices.

                    The resin fixes the carbon fibers in a geometric arrangement, transmits force to the fibers, and stabilizes the fibers as pressure builds. The embedded fibers strengthen and stiffen the composite and absorb forces throughout the length of the fibers. The chemical bond created by carbon atoms in the resin matrix produces strength superior to most metals and other fiber-reinforced composites, giving you the ability to fabricate dynamic, energy-returning structures in passive devices.

                    Carbon fiber comes in two weaves:
                    1. Unidirectional (all fibers are parallel). In a 0-degree orientation, aligned with the fibers, unidirectional (UD) carbon fiber provides high bending strength against the progression of forces, which makes it perfect for the carbon-fiber prosthetic blades used by Paralympic sprinters. In a 90-degree orientation, perpendicular to the fibers, it flexes. In either orientation, it has low torsional strength. In all applications, another layer of fabric, such as Perlon, must be laid under and over UD carbon-fiber weave.
                    2. Bidirectional (fibers cross at a 90-degree angle). In a 0-degree or a 90-degree orientation, bidirectional carbon fiber features medium bending strength and medium torsional strength. At a 45-degree orientation, it is more flexible and has high torsional strength, which are just the right properties for a transfemoral socket, for example.

                    You can even tailor the composite's properties with fiber length, the type of weave, fiber orientation, the number of layers, and the resin system to modify the component's capability to bear mechanical loads. Guidelines to Using Carbon Fiber

                    To make carbon fiber perform as expected follow these guidelines:

                    Handle with care. Carbon fiber may provide the lightweight strength of futuristic aircraft, but carbon fabric is surprisingly delicate. Folding it or scratching it with a sharp tool can damage filaments, which could produce a weak spot in the finished component. Under force, broken fibers become a natural breaking point. Carbon fabric stretches little in length or width, but be alert to its tendency to stretch at an angle.

                    Identify areas requiring flexibility. Because bidirectional carbon-fiber weave aligned 45 degrees to the line of progression is the most flexible, incorporate it where a component needs low resistance. We use it in the orthosis footplate that fits inside a shoe to provide the flexibility that allows the patient's forefoot to roll over smoothly for a more natural gait. (Editor's note: to learn more, read "Making an Orthotic Carbon-Fiber Footplate with a Flexible Forefoot," The O&P EDGE, September 2012.)

                    Elastic weft threads in unidirectional stockinette maintain the orientation of carbon fibers for axial reinforcement against bending forces.

                    CFRP has a limited range of flexibility, and it must be on an even plane to allow the carbon fiber to flex. Do what you can to prevent additional forces that may lead to premature failure, such as incorporating heel height and toe pitch into the cast or plaster modifications for a footplate.

                    Identify areas requiring torsional resistance. Bidirectional carbon weave at 45 degrees also contours well under applied pressure, like weight load. Torsional strength qualifies it as the best choice for a prosthetic socket. Woven carbon-fiber stockinette simplifies socket fabrication, reinforcement frames, and struts. Choose the stockinette width that positions fibers in both directions at roughly 45 degrees to the line of progression because any other angle will lower torsional resistance. An additional layer of bidirectional cloth also can add torsional resistance near the brim, thigh cuffs, and calf cuffs.

                    Identify areas requiring reinforcement. Where you need strength, go with UD carbon fiber in a 0-degree orientation. Horizontal UD fabric provides rigidity in the thigh and calf shells of a KAFO. For axial reinforcement against bending forces, carbon-fiber UD stockinette makes jobs easier because elastic weft threads allow carbon fibers to maintain their orientation and form to the model's contours.

                    PVC profile bars as core material inserted into a narrow width of carbon bidirectional stockinette fortifies CFRP enough to replace part or all of the metal sections in an AFO. In addition, a heavier patient might need another layer of carbon fiber or a PVC profile bar in carbon stockinette as reinforcement in areas prone to pressure.

                    Align precisely. In a fiber-reinforced composite, UD carbon fiber offers maximum strength when the carbon fibers align with the direction of force. However, according to Ottobock's research, turning the orientation of the carbon fibers 10 degrees from the direction of force reduces the composite's absorption of force by 62 percent. That's a huge difference. So it's vital to ensure correct orientation.

                    For proper orientation of bidirectional fabric, the arrow pattern (running at a 45-degree angle) in the carbon weave must follow the line of progression.

                    Consider the resin. CFRP is a duroplastic-it is strong, light, and able to retain shape even with thin walls. Duroplastics are produced by the cross-linking chemical reaction between the resin and hardener. The resulting chemical bond is irreversible, so you can't reshape the finished component. Applying heat will only cause it to melt. What About Prepreg?

                    Pre-impregnated carbon fiber, better known as prepreg carbon, is a high-performance reinforced material that is used in racecar bodies and aircraft fuselages-plus prosthetic and orthotic devices.

                    It is manufactured in sheets or rolls already containing an optimized balance of epoxy resin and carbon fiber. Prepreg carbon minimizes weight and maximizes responsiveness. The low resin-to-carbon ratio accentuates the ability of the carbon fibers to respond dynamically. The energy return nearly equals the energy applied by the patient, which makes ambulation more efficient.

                    Available in both unidirectional and bidirectional carbonfiber weave, prepreg is cut to fit, so there's no trimming of excess material during the fabrication process.

                    CFRP components, with an average carbon content of about 30 percent, usually are made with one of two types of resin systems:
                    • Epoxy. Epoxy produces a strong, stiff structure with good adhesion to the carbon fibers. Because of its long setting time, some technicians prefer epoxy for long devices, such as KAFOs.
                    • Acrylic. Acrylic produces a colorless, transparent structure with skinfriendly, antibacterial properties. The resin matrix has a short setting time and surrounds, but does not actually adhere to, the carbon fibers.

                    Ottobock, which uses acrylic resin for most fiber-reinforced composite in orthoses and prostheses, developed C-Orthocryl® especially for use with carbon fiber. It's thinner to minimize the resin-to-carbon ratio, and it has a longer cure time to ease fabrication of larger devices. It also can be used to make rigid structures or soft, flexible laminates that will not stiffen over time.

                    Now that you know the properties of carbon fiber, you can fabricate better devices that will perform better for patients.

                    Justin Eitel is the technical orthopedics lead for Ottobock US. He oversees all orthotic and prosthetic fabrication at the Ottobock technical center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
                    Last edited by SheepDog; 09-14-2019, 10:13 AM.


                    • #11
                      You guys are not understanding the difference in carbon fiber safety products vs other components. Its stronger and lighter than steel and is in no way, shape, form or fashion brittle. Wind surfing masts, ground effects, spoilers, wings, etc are not made to withstand high force loads. There are vids of a McLaren that rolled numerous times at over 100mph and the carbon tub didn't so much as suffer a scratch. The rest of the car was totally demolished and the driver/passenger walked away from the car. There's also the story of the Ferrari F40 that suffered the same fate at almost 150mph on a California highway with the same end result. The tub was all that was left of the car and the driver/passenger walked away. Don't confuse the flimsy CF you've been accustomed to on items like ground effects, surfing masts, etc. with safety components. Two completely different processes.