Minimization of Vehicular Energy Demand

Capacity Area A3 concentrates its research on vehicle technologies for minimization of the energy demand excluding the powertrain itself. This includes new routes to high volume lightweight thermoplastics and bioinspired composites. The functional integration of thermal insulation into composites and thermal management of vehicles as a whole will allow further reducing the non-propulsive energy demand.

The advent of new propulsion and energy storage systems is not the only part that will contribute to the required efficiency increase. In addition a substantial reduction of vehicular energy demand is of great importance. This will be addressed by reducing the vehicle mass with novel recyclable lightweight materials and by addressing thermal insulation and thermal management of the vehicle.

Weight reduction offers advantages like improved handling, braking and reduced propulsion power require-ments. This allows the downsizing of other vehicle components (mass decompounding). Biological compo-sites exhibit outstanding mechanical properties due to their exquisite nano-/microstructure at multiple length scales. Related work will focus on realizing bio-inspired hierarchical composites with thermoplastic (and hence recyclable) matrix for high volume manufacturing. Another related topic is “thermal management in-cluding thermal insulation”. Indeed high-end passenger cars may require as much as 12 kW of auxiliary power under worst case conditions, while the average tractive power requirement (NEDC) would range somewhere between 4-8 kW. Similar relationships hold true for rail transportation which requires up to 50% of its power consumption for thermal management.


Prof. Dr. Paolo Ermanni
Head of Laboratory of Composite Materials
and Adaptive Structures at ETH Zürich / 044 633 63 06

ETH Zürich
Laboratory of Composite Materials and Adaptive Structures, IDMS-CMAS
Prof. Dr. Paolo Ermanni, Coordinator

Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW
Institut für Kunststofftechnik, IKT
Prof. Clemens Dransfeld, Deputy Coordinator

Laboratory for Processing of Advanced Composites, LPAC
Prof. Dr. Véronique Michaud

ETH Zürich
Aerothermochemistry and Combustion Systems Laboratory, LAV
Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Boulouchos

ETH Zürich
Laboratory for Complex Materials, CML
Prof. Dr. André Studart

New Routes to lightweight composites

  • Define demonstrator, list of agreed parameters
  • Demonstrator(s) of composite parts via proposed routes ready
  • Demonstrator(s) of composite parts via proposed routes benchmarked.
  • Processing routes for approaches (a)-(c) established and demonstrated.

Bio-inspired lightweight composites

  • Microstructural parameter study. Promising approach(es) identified.
  • Demonstrator parts fabricated and evaluated using promising approach(es).

Thermal Management

  • Environmental footprint and hygrothermal performance of insulation strategies.

Thermoplastic composites via low viscosity melt impregnation

  • Report on out-of-plane impregnation [12, 2018]
  • Report on in-plane impregnation [12, 2018]
  • Manufacturing go/no go for industrial impregnation tool scheduled [12, 2017]
  • Industrial impregnation tool [12, 2018]
  • Industrial impregnation tool validation [12, 2019]
  • Competitiveness identified [12, 2020]
  • Characteristic parts and reported performance [12, 2020]

Direct consolidation via hybrid yarn route

  • Manufacturing infrastructure [12, 2020]
  • Consolidation models for hybrid yarns [6, 2018]
  • Report on bicomponent fiber manufacturing [6, 2018]
  • Report on direct consolidation on hybrid yarns [12, 2018]
  • Industrial demonstration of hybrid yarn consolidation [12, 2020]
  • Report on industrial demonstration of hybrid yarn consolidation [12, 2020]

Cost and life cycle inventory of processing routes

  • Life cycle inventory is complete [12, 2019]
  • Database with life cycle inventory for processes under consideration [12, 2019]
  • Life cycle and cost performances identified [12, 2020]
  • Report of life cycle and cost performance of processes [12, 2020]

Development of bio-inspired materials and structures

  • Bioinspired ceramic composites dissemination milestone [1, 2018]
  • Report on structure property relation of bioinspired ceramic composites [1, 2018]
  • Engineering application scale-up milestone [7, 2019]
  • Engineering application demonstration milestone [12, 2020]
  • Report on heterogeneous architecture of bioinspired composites [12, 2020]

Modelling of propulsive and non-propulsive energy demand

  • Report/paper on calibrated and validated real-world energy demand model [12, 2018]
  • Model for passenger cars validated [1, 2018]
  • Model for heavy-duty vehicles available [6, 2018]
  • Calibrated and validated real-world energy demand model available for design development [12, 2018]

Minimizing vehicular energy demand through design

  • Extended simulation framework for optimal design of vehicles available including thermal considerations for future mobility demand is available [6, 2019]
  • Documentation on extended framework [6, 2019]
  • Publication of design strategies and new designs available [12, 2020]

Master and semester project reports

V. Bersier, Effect of Manufacturing Parameters on Thermo-mechanical Deformation of Composite Structures Using the powerRibs Technology, EPFL Master Thesis in collaboration with B-Comp, March 2016

T. Bouchet, Processing and Characterization of composites with low viscosity thermoplastic matrix, EPFL Master semester project report, June 2015.

R.Triguera, Improved fabric permeability for a melt-RTM process, EPFL Master semester project report, January 2016.