Fraunhofer demos new approach for wheel hub drive

September 29, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Fraunhofer demos new approach for wheel hub drive
Wheel hub motors have a number of advantages since they offer unseen design freedom for car designers. Nevertheless they have not become prevalent so far because they also have strong drawbacks such as large unsprung masses and difficult thermal management. Fraunhofer research institute LBF has shown an approach how these drawbacks could be minimized.

The researchers implemented a wheel assembly consisting of a motor and a wheel rim made of charfiber-reinforced plastics. Systems made of this light but very stable material enable higher structural damping, better damage tolerance and durability as well as higher ductile yield in comparison with metal materials, the researchers said.

The motor, a permanent-field synchronous engine, is connected to the wheel by means of a part made of charfiber-reinforced plastic. The motor is not located within a radial or lateral flux of force. Thus, potentially harmful mechanical shocks can be avoided. In addition, the Fraunhofer designers implemented a flexible rim blade. Such a lightweight design could potentially "open a new chapter in vehicle history", the institute believes.

The prototype has been exhibited at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show.


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