Mitsubishi Chemical’s CFRP Used for Roof of New Audi RS 5 Coupé

           Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) announced that its carbon fiber composite materials are being used for the high cycle press molded {Prepreg Compression Molding (PCM)} roof of the top model RS 5 Coupé in the Audi A5 series of premium sports coupe, which were launched this June by Audi Sport GmbH.

The roof is made using the PCM method and delivered to Audi by Wethje Carbon Composites GmbH, a MCC Group company in Germany that manufactures carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) auto parts.

In line with the tightening of fuel efficiency regulations and carbon dioxide emission controls, interest in vehicle weight reduction has been growing in the European automotive market, particularly in Germany, and the use of car parts made of CFRP that combines high strength with lightweight is accelerating. Using the PCM mass-production molding technology for CFRP materials developed independently by MCC, the laminated prepreg materials (sheet-shaped carbon fiber intermediate materials impregnated with resin) is compressed and formed using a press. With a cycle time of about five minutes, it is possible to mass produce automotive components. In addition, the extremely smooth surface of the molded parts enables Class A paint coating, and it can also be used for exterior panel parts. By further improving the method of construction this time, it is now possible to form a roof having an outer layer, made of carbon fiber instead of being painted, which requires an extremely high level of quality.

MCC’s CFRP is being used by Audi Sport because its advantages have earned high recognition from the automaker. These advantages include a substantial reduction in vehicle weight (approximately 40% reduction compared to the same part formed using aluminum), better driving performance, lower center of gravity due to weight reduction, and achievement of mass production of a roof with an outer layer made of carbon fiber that combines high quality with attractive design.

The Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group aims to achieve sales of 100 billion yen from their carbon fiber and composite material business in 2020 with the APTSIS 20 mid-term management plan. To achieve this target, MCC is actively expanding its operations targeting fast-growing automotive applications and other industrial areas.

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