The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray that General Motors Co. unveiled in July has a curved, multihollow pultruded carbon fiber bumper beam. It's a first for the automotive industry, according to Shape Corp., the Grand Haven, Mich.-based Tier 1 supplier that engineered and manufactured the part.
"It's groundbreaking," said Toby Jacobson, plastic materials and process manager of Shape's research and development team, the Advancement Product Development Group. "For the first time ever, we've been able to make a curved carbon fiber pultruded profile."
Jacobson started the project in 2013. His role was to research different ways to make composite parts for automotive applications.
"That's really how the project started because Shape historically hadn't really done any thermoset composites. We've done some thermoplastic injection molding with fiber … but it's not thermoset composites with continuous fiber," he said in a phone interview.