Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI and the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (IfBB) at Hanover University have developed a natural-fiber composite material, which is now being used for parts for the new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport – the first car in series production to feature body parts made of a natural-fiber composite material . The driver and passenger doors, as well as the rear wing are made using a mixture of organic fibers. The Cayman weighs in at a relatively light 1,320 kg; a factor here is the up to 60% weight saving from the use of organic composite materials instead of steel in the doors.
The composite material consists of a thermoset polymer matrix system reinforced with organic fibers. An organic fiber mesh is used, since the raw materials are readily available, it exhibits high tensile strength, and is particularly fine, homogeneous, and drapable, easily fitting part shapes. According to the Fraunhofer WKI, the ease with which it can be produced to precise dimensions facilitates machining and quality assurance, even in combination with other conventionally manufactured components.