Can plastic leaf springs replace steel leaf springs?

Vehicle lightweighting has been one of the hot keywords in the automotive industry in recent years. It not only helps save energy and reduce emissions, conforms to the general trend of environmental protection, but also brings many benefits to car owners, such as more loading capacity. , less fuel consumption, better controllability and higher comfort, etc.

In order to pursue lightweighting, it can be said that the industry has put a lot of effort into researching how to obtain a lighter weight from the body, beams, upper body, axles, tires, leaf springs, etc. Therefore, plastic leaf springs appeared.

According to relevant data, the total weight of plastic leaf springs (including metal joints) is about 50% of that of steel leaf springs, which can greatly reduce the weight of the vehicle.

It can be light, but how much weight can it bear? Many car owners wonder when they see such a leaf spring: Can it bear a load of several tons, ten tons or even dozens of tons? If there is a bad road, can it be used for a year?

Plastic leaf springs have obvious advantages

In fact, although this kind of leaf spring is essentially plastic, it is not plastic in the traditional sense. It is a composite material. The official name is “polyurethane matrix resin glass fiber reinforced leaf spring”, which is made of reinforced composite fiber. It is synthesized with the resin matrix through a certain process.

Maybe it sounds a bit obscure, so let’s use an analogy: For example, in cement boards used in building materials, composite fibers are like steel bars in cement boards, providing strength and certain tensile resistance, and the resin matrix is equivalent to cement. , while protecting the steel bars, it can also make the cement board stronger, and there is no big problem for general transportation.

In addition, plastic leaf springs are not a new product. They have been widely used in passenger vehicles such as cars and SUVs. They are also used in some foreign light trucks, heavy trucks, buses and trailers that pursue lightweighting.

In addition to the self-weight advantages mentioned above, it also has the advantages of good shock absorption, high stress intensity coefficient, strong fatigue resistance, and long service life, which can greatly reduce the user’s comprehensive vehicle cost.

Can plastic leaf springs replace steel plates?

It can be said that the development prospects of plastic leaf springs are still relatively broad, but there is still a long way to go before they can be widely used in domestic commercial vehicles. “Things that are scarce are more valuable” is an eternal truth. In the current environment where freight rates continue to decline, the high price alone may dissuade many car owners. Besides, plastic leaf springs not only have high upfront costs, but subsequent maintenance and replacement is also a problem. Both parts and technology are still relatively scarce in the current market.

From the strength point of view, although plastic leaf springs do play unique advantages in some standard load transportation conditions that are sensitive to the vehicle’s own weight, in the field of heavy-load transportation, especially when facing complex domestic transportation road conditions, plastic leaf springs It is probably not yet known whether the leaf spring can maintain the same load-bearing capacity as the leaf spring while reducing the weight by more than half, or whether it can maintain the same excellent performance as the experimental data.

If the car owner chooses a plastic leaf spring, remember not to overload or exceed the limit during use. Once the weight limit that the leaf spring thickness and fiber layers can bear is exceeded, it is still very dangerous. After all, a broken leaf spring is not a trivial matter. As for heavy-duty vehicles, you still need to consider the actual situation when choosing a suspension. After all, the selection of any parts must be based on safety, and reliable strength is the most important.

Post time: Dec-04-2023