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Old 02-05-2009, 01:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
MechEngVT
Mechanical Engineer
 
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Location: Richmond, VA
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I met with a plastic thermoforming company once and they showed me a sample of a material that's fairly new that made me think of plastic monocoque construction. I seem to recall that it was produced by twin-sheet thermoforming polycarbonate into alternating "egg-crate" shapes to produce somewhat of a sandwich product about 3/4" thick. The two sheets would adhere to one another where one sheet's "bucket" touched the opposing sheet, and the patterns interlocked. If one could take this product in sheet form and thermoform it into more complex shapes it could be a very strong construction material (the 4" x 4" sample I saw did not flex when I put as much abuse to it as I could by hand).

Polycarbonate and carbon fiber both have a disadvantage regarding human crash protection: the human body will not "reject" the shards of foreign material.

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