Sustainable automotive design
: a holistic strategy for sustainable product and materials development

  • Jonathan Burgess

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The manufacture of cars has a significant impact on the environment. Car manufacturing companies are focused on how to make cars more efficient, they are introducing composites into their manufacturing processes. This thesis discusses the literature surrounding sustainable design, sustainability in car design, the current state of car manufacture and the composite materials that could be used to create a sustainable vehicle.
    This study uses a novel Materials/Design/Manufacture approach - using a holistic strategy to develop the material, design and manufacture of a sustainable product.
    This project leads to the conclusion that natural fibre reinforced composites could be used to create a car which is fully sustainable. However, the material needs to be designed with the application in mind, will need to be applied in a new manner, and manufacturing processes need developing for this to become a viable prospect.
    The programme of how this will be achieved is set out as series of experiments, prototypes and materials tests. Finally, a process has been developed resulting in a novel material and manufacturing process for a front wishbone component on a sustainably designed urban passenger car, this represents a step forward in the use of natural fibres in composites.
    Date of Award31 Jul 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    Supervisorc McLening (Supervisor)


    • automotive
    • compression moulding
    • hot press
    • cradle to cradle
    • holistic design

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