A novel hybrid structural member is under development for vehicle applications. The new structure is comprised of a pultruded glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) shell structure with embedded longitudinal steel rods. The rods will resist the majority of flexural and axial stresses, and serve as hard points for connection to other components; the GFRP webs between the rods will primarily be responsible for resisting shear flow. It is expected that this structural system will offer many of the benefits of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) structures, while remaining cost effective for mass production. This paper details the process used to design physical specimens that will be fabricated and tested to experimentally assess the behaviour and performance of this hybrid structural system. Since the intended application of this technology is for vehicle structures, the specimens were designed as though they would be required to endure the environments typically seen by an automotive structure. The design was largely carried out using conventional design and analysis techniques for fibre composite laminates; however, some provisions and design innovations were necessary in order to account for the highly heterogeneous and anisotropic qualities of the hybrid members, and to ensure manufacturability using existing pultrusion equipment. Differential thermal expansion coefficients raised concerns regarding prestressing that could be induced during the pultrusion process. The quality of the bond between the steel rods and the polymer matrix was another matter that received attention. Another critical aspect of the design was the displacement and discontinuity of the GFRP laminae in the regions of the embedded steel rods.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.