The European Flexcrash project, funded with €4 million by the European Union under its Horizon Europe programme, is to develop flexible and hybrid manufacturing technology using high-strength green aluminium alloys to produce adaptive crash-tolerant vehicle structures.

The project addresses the main challenges facing the automotive industry including compliance with greenhouse gas emission regulations and restrictions and increasing passenger safety.

Flexcrash “seeks to develop safer, lighter and circular structures to increase vehicle lightweighting and passenger safety while paying special attention to the front-end structure as frontal crashes account for the 70% of total car collisions,” says Begoña Casas, the project’s technical coordinator and researcher in the Eurecat technology centre’s Metallic and Ceramic Materials Unit.

In addition, the project’s solutions “will make it possible to unlock more efficient use of raw material and energy resources and optimise material supply chains which will yield significant cost savings,” adds Montse Vilaseca, director of Eurecat’s Metallic and Ceramic Materials Unit.

To do this, the project is to identify safety needs for current and future mobility and conduct advanced crash, toughness, fracture and fatigue testing and crash simulation, ranging from advanced material models to virtual testing. “New laboratory-scale methods to determine crash-relevant mechanical properties are needed to optimise materials and manufacturing parameters and cut implementation time,” points out Begoña Casas.

Bespoke vehicle structures will also be designed allowing for a wide range of future relevant accident scenarios so as to enhance -crashworthiness as well as compatibility compared to current solutions.

The Flexcrash consortium is made up of ten partners from Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden and Austria. Specifically, it has four technology centres in the shape of Eurecat, which is the project coordinator, Virtual Vehicle Research, Stellantis’s CRF research centre and Fraunhofer IWS; two universities, Luleå Tekniska Universitet and IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems; three industrial businesses in Gestamp, Gemmate Technologies and Aerobase Innovation, and UNE as the standardisation body.