SOLMAC stands for Structural Optimisation Using Light Metals and Affordable Composites.

The aim of the project was to take several materials and processes proven at a system level and in non-primary structures and apply them to the production of the primary body structure of a niche automotive OEM.

Specifically, novel combined pre-and post-assembly surface treatment of aluminium sheet and extruded beam sections were integrated with affordable thermoplastic panels.

By creating hybrid material sub-assemblies that were then joined using cold-cure adhesive and mechanical fasteners, a lightweight solution was delivered that exhibited significant performance, cost and environmental benefits.

The project provided an opportunity to refine the PowderBondPP process developed to enable the joining of polypropylene to aluminium, and was successfully used to make the five sub-assemblies that formed the structure of the tub.