A fiber-reinforced-composite platform trailer, developed by Martin Marietta Composites, has won the 2005 Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE) Award for Technical Innovation for Corrosion Applications from the American Composites Manufacturers Association. The trailer has a composite deck, subframe beams, suspension cross-members, outriggers and rear impact guard.
With its extensive use of composites, the trailer is designed to be lighter than conventional trailers and more corrosion-resistant. The manufacturer also expects the composites trailer to be more durable, yielding longer life and offering lower maintenance requirements than conventional steel or aluminum trailers. Small repairs can be handled using a fiberglass repair kit; for larger repairs, components can be replaced without causing any loss of strength.
The nonskid-coated deck is made from Martin Marietta’s Transonite panel, which the company describes as a durable, low-weight pultruded composite sandwich consisting of glass-fiber-reinforced polymer laminate skins and a foam core. Because composite materials absorb more energy per pound than conventional materials, the pultruded rear impact guard may help to reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident. According to the manufacturer, the fiber-reinforced polymer materials used in the trailer are resistant to many chemicals, as well as acids, road salts and the effects of weathering; they also are nonflammable, self-extinguishing and resistant to fatigue stresses.
ACMA sponsors ACE each year to recognize innovative developments in composites. This year’s awards were presented at Composites 2005 in Columbus, Ohio, the largest trade show and conference in North America dedicated to the composites industry.