Two of its latest projects are the development
of seats for NASCAR and Sprint race
cars that represent significant technological
breakthroughs. In the past, virtually all race
car seats for the premier race formulas have
used aluminum or aramid honeycomb as
the core material. The team at Fibreworks,
headed by Ralf Brand, the Chief Technical
Officer, has metaphorically speaking ‘broken
the mould’ by developing seats that use
Divinycell foam cores.
The decision to take this approach was due
to Fibreworks' belief that foam cored seats
are more cost-efficient than existing honeycomb
Fibreworks maintains that using foam core is much easier and more repeatable than is the case with honeycomb. Unlike honeycomb, the Divinycell foam core can be thermoformed to the required shape, facilitating the lay-up of the carbon-epoxy prepreg. In addition, the foam core provides a much larger bonding area.
Another benefit of the foam core approach is
that the Fibreworks seats are actually lighter
than equivalent ‘honeycomb’ seats.
These new seats meet both the appropriate
SFI static load test and the dynamic
testing required by each sport’s governing
body. The NASCAR dynamic testing is very
stringent indeed. It involves a 90 kg (198 lb)
dummy being crash-tested six times. Each
time the test is carried out the seat experiences
an incredible force of 69 g. This is
eight times the energy level experienced by
a Formula 1 car when it is subjected to the
mandatory front end crash test. To pass the
NASCAR test, the seat must not show any signs of cracking or deformation.
Another project where Fibreworks is
using Diab cores is in the full carbon fiber
body of a car that, powered by an internal
combustion engine, is designed to exceed
800 kph (500 mph).