Cars made of wood | Old new material
Cars in bio and with a good ecological balance? A return to the original material of automobile construction could make it possible!
For even in the early days it was true: no wood, no car. For centuries, wood had made carriages and wagons torsionally stiff and flexible at the same time, weatherproof and durable, and was always available. Consequently, wood also became the construction material for the bodies, dashboards, steering wheels and spoked wheels of the first cars: whether Bugatti Aerolithe, Peugeot 302 Darl’mat, Mercedes 320 or Jaguar XK 150: under the sheet metal was a wooden construction, sometimes even visible to the outside. Wood was used successfully until the 1950/60s. Then it increasingly lost importance and was reduced to precious wood fittings and gear knobs for luxury vehicles.
Today, wood could experience a renaissance and become a material of the future in automotive construction. The advantages of the material are obvious: among other things, it is ideal for lightweight construction, sound transmission is reduced and, above all, it improves the ecological balance. Wood-fibre composite panels could replace aluminium and carbon, because they can be produced with much less energy. While the production of one cubic metre of aluminium produces 22 tonnes of CO2, wood only produces 150 kilogrammes.
Important simulation tools have been developed in research projects such as WoodC.A.R. by industry and science, for example to investigate the torsional stiffness and safety of wood-dominated car bodies. Concept cars like the Biofore are being created and manufacturers like Porsche are working on the new technologies up to the first small-scale series in racing.
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