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Reference Number C3/P27
Title Development and construction of a lightweight, chassisless composite semi-trailer (ROADLITE)
Status Completed
Energy Categories ENERGY EFFICIENCY(Transport) 50%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 25%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 75%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 75%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Environmental dimensions) 15%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Technology acceptance) 10%;
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Southfields Coachworks
Award Type Standard
Funding Source DfT
Start Date 01 October 2000
End Date 30 April 2004
Duration 42 months
Total Grant Value £558,000
Industrial Sectors Transport
Region East Midlands
Programme DfT Transport Technology and Standards
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Southfields Coachworks (99.996%)
  Other Investigator Project Contact , University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Project Contact , Euro Projects Ltd (0.001%)
Project Contact , Halmatic Ltd (0.001%)
Project Contact , LTC Ltd (0.001%)
Web Site
Objectives Specific objectives of the project include: * to design, develop and demonstrate a lightweight semi-trailer with a reduction in tare weight, coupled with an increase in inner volume, improved aerodynamics and a design construction that could be applied to entire semi-trailer markets (i.e. boxed, flatbed, curtain siders etc.); and * to manufacture, assemble and evaluate a prototype composite.
Abstract Road haulage is by far the most important form of transport for goods in Europe and is expected to grow by 25% over the next 15 years. This growth is in conflict with the environment as heavy goods vehicles (HGV) transport 87% of all goods and freight. A key element in this transport is the semi-trailer. Therefore, as vehicle weight / inertia accounts for a significant proportion of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, the use of lightweight materials and construction techniquesare increasingly important. One of the most likely methods of manufacturing such a large structure in composite materials is to use a vacuum infusion technique. Process development and modelling is being performed in order to understand better this technique’s problems and relevant manufacturing parameters. A number of thick section composite parts have been produced using this process up to a single skin thickness of 40mm. Sandwich structures have also been produced using balsa and foam cores utilising a resin flow system in an attempt to reduce consumable costs. Shear webs and top-hat stiffeners have been incorporated into flat panels during the manufacturing phase and all were successful in producing a stiff lightweight structure. The primary customer requirements for new urban articulated trailers were found to be reduced weight, reduced noise, interchangeable bodies and cost competitiveness. A steel chassised 28tonne GVW, 9750mm, tandem axle, on-air suspension urban articulatedtrailer has been manufactured and is currently undergoing accelerated dynamic testing to provide input design parameters. Three new CAE technologies will be developed to aid the composite design in conjunction with traditional test techniques for this purpose: * finite element based shape optimisation; * multi-body dynamics analysis of forces being transmitted into the chassis structure; and * finite element analysis of the stresses, strains and natural frequencies of the chassis structure.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 06/02/08