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Innovative EX-CORE leads the technology race to stronger, more complex carbon composite shapes

Donderdag 4/22/2021

break into F1’s grid

Lelystad, The Netherlands // The 2021 Formula One season has just begun, but Donkervoort Automobielen’s ground-breaking EX-CORE® composites spin-off is in a different race, aiming to break into F1’s grid in 2022.

The unprecedented EX-CORE® production process has attracted the interest of at least two current Formula One teams, in particular for its ability to produce parts with 0mm radii and its consistent quality.

It’s also a process that results in products of extreme strength, well beyond what is available using traditional composite processes, and performance in extreme situations.

It is already a well-proven circuit technology, thanks to its starring role in the complex door structure of the single-piece doors of the track-proven Donkervoort D8 GTO-JD70.

The process was developed for the automotive industry, delivering the lighter weight needed to offset heavy electric-vehicle batteries and absorb NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), but has already piqued interest in the aviation, cycling, drone and sailing industries.

The new low-energy, low-waste process, developed by the Donkervoort research division, can produce extremely strong, otherwise-impossibly complex composite shapes with unprecedented intricacy to create the sharpest angles designers and aerodynamicists can imagine.

The tight radii mean EX-CORE gives industrial designers an unprecedented artistic license in carbon-fibre while still providing extreme strength.

EX-CORE has, for the first time, released a video of how the clean, mess-free process works, including demonstrating the stand-alone tooling, integrated heating elements, our own heat-management software and low energy use.

Less complex, more versatile

Since becoming an independent business spun off from Donkervoort last year, EX-CORE has become a strong business in its own right, and its management is continuously dealing with business development investors and creating joint ventures in an array of industries to achieve the system’s full potential.

At the centre of the EX-CORE process is a patented foam that expands at a fixed rate when heated to provide internal pressure against the carbon-fibre mold.

It means the composite materials and the resin are cured from the inside out, rather than the outside in, via computerized, low-energy heating elements built into the tooling. The foam simply expands at a precise rate to squeeze the fibre layers onto the inner contours of the mold at between 2,8 and 8 bar.

The foam then takes on some of the properties of the outer material, making it so much stronger than standard composites that it sets new industry standards.

The EX-CORE process, first used to produce the intricate doors of the 2017 Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS, uses a one-shot process, with minimal waste, virtually no excess material and low energy.

It delivers far more than the traditional strength and lightness of carbon-fibre, with none of the disadvantages of traditional processes. For example, there are no expensive autoclaves, no consumables and it needs far less time and energy to create.

Research on EX-CORE began under Donkervoort’s research and development team in 12 years ago, and it has won multiple innovation grants, including a European Innovation Grant in High-Tech Materials and Advanced Manufacturing technologies.

Other than Formula One, where EX-CORE material testing began midway through 2020, EX-CORE® is also undergoing validation and proof-of-concept testing in at least five other industry sectors.

About Donkervoort Automobielen

Founded by Joop Donkervoort in 1978, Donkervoort Automobielen is based in Lelystad, in The Netherlands. Now managed by his son, Denis, Donkervoort has sold more than 1500 cars and maintains a staff of more than 50. It earned sportscar credibility in 1988 when its D10 smashed the world acceleration record, then earned more when the D8 270 RS broke the Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record, with a 7:14:89 lap time, in 2005. Its cars range from
comfortable tourers to harder-edged track models and besides sheer speed, the brand is also known for exacting attention to detail.

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