WEB EXCLUSIVE: With dimensions of around 39.4 x 33.5 x 12.6 in., the Audi A8 spare wheel recess is an unusually large injection molded part. It weighs about 19.8 lb and is bonded and bolted to the body framework, providing the additional function of reinforcing the rear end of the car. This is achieved by means of two reinforcing channels, each about 6.6 ft long, hollowed out with gas injection. The material is Durethan DP BKV 60 H2.0 EF, a nylon 6 filled with 60% glass fiber from Lanxess AG in Germany (U.S. office in Pittsburgh). It has high stiffness (tensile modulus is 19,000 MPa, 13,000 MPa conditioned), more than twice that of standard nylon 6 with 30% glass. It supports numerous fittings and attachments weighing a total of 374 lb, including the spare wheel, air spring compressor, vehicle jack, tools, battery, and various control units. Nylon was chosen as an alternative to sheet steel or aluminum or glass-mat reinforced thermoplastics (GMT). The precise, complex geometry and high draw ratio would have made sheet-metal stamping very difficult, and the latter would have required addition of numerous separate attachments. Likewise, GMT would need considerable rework after molding. The 26.4-lb shot is molded on a 2700-metric-ton press by voestalpine Plastics Solutions in Putte, The Netherlands.
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