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Advanced composite energy absorption vs. other materials

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Composites have dramatically higher specific energy absorption than steel or aluminum. Composite-based crush cones and similar structures built into autobodies can absorb 120 kJ/kg, even up to 240, vs. about 20 for steel. Crush properties and costs can also be optimized by mixing costlier carbon fiber with lower-cost materials like fiberglass.

Sources

G. C Jacob et al. 2002. “Energy absorption in polymer composites for automotive crashworthiness.” Journal of Composite Materials 36, no. 7: 813. link