Environmental impact of material selection in a car body component – The side door intrusion beam
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonJournal of Cleaner Production. 2021, 318 . 10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.128528
As the impact of transport on the issue of global warming is considerable, the fleet-wide average emission target for new cars is continuously lowered. Car weight reduction is considered as one of the possible strategies to pursue in the perspective of greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Part design based on the use of new lightweight materials is fundamental to reduce fuel car consumption. This production strategy has to be achieved also by taking into consideration the car safety standards. Hence, the employing of these promising materials has to be evaluated in designing specific components aiming at increasing the car body performance in crash energy absorption. In the research, herein proposed, the environmental impact, quantified by the life cycle assessment tool, was executed on a number of side-door intrusion beams made of different materials. Specifically, the analysis was performed focusing on the global warming potential and the cumulative energy demand of the entire life cycle of different beams considering: the material production, the manufacturing processes employed to produce the intrusion beam and the product use phase. The evaluation was conducted taking into consideration the fact that each beam was mounted on an economy car, and the end-of-life scenario was strictly connected to the recycling properties of the selected materials. The obtained results highlighted that the glass-fiber reinforced thermoset (3 kgCO2eq) and the carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic (4 kgCO2eq) show the lowest environmental impact among the analysed materials. Their low impact is mainly due to, respectively, product manufacturing and use phase. However, for each case, the units of the beam life cycle can affect the natural environmental, differently. Therefore, various solutions can be competitive in an optimization perspective aiming to the achievement of zero emissions per km that is the final target of the research.