Audi announced that it will introduce new, lightweight suspension springs made of glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) on an upper mid-sized model before the end of the year. Our guess is that the vehicle that will receive the new springs is the 2015 Audi A7 although we have to see a confirmation from the German manufacturer.
According to the official press release, the GFRP springs were developed with an Italian supplier and as obvious, they look different than the standard steel springs. First if all, the GFRP are green, while the fiber strand is thicker than the wire of a steel spring.
In addition, the GFRP spring has a lower number of coils and a slightly large overall diameter. Still, the most important thing is that it is 40 percent lighter when compared with the steel springs. For those who don’t know, the steel spring on an upper mid-size model weighs almost 2.7 kg (6.0 lb), while the GFRP spring drops the weight to 1.6 kg (3.5 lb).
This means that the four GFRP springs found on a vehicle reduce the total weight by 4.4 kg (9.7 lb). Audi says that the core of the springs consists of long glass fibers twisted together and impregnated with epoxy resin.
Moreover, a machine wraps the additional fibers around this core at alternating angles of plus and minus 45 degrees to the longitudinal axis. The last step in production is to curing the blank in an oven at temperatures that exceed 100 degrees Celsius.