ULTRA-Lightweight 100% recyclable scalable production door

IN 2016, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS began work for a $5.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to pioneer technology for fuel-savings, energy efficiency, and to meet the U.S. corporate average fuel economy standards.


Working with industry partners, the Clemson team engineered and constructed an ultra-lightweight thermoplastics composites door that enables innovation for greenhouse gas reduction, recyclability, and circular economy.

John W. Gillespie, director of the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials (CCM), and assistant director Shridhar Yarlagadda issued a joint statement:

“Clemson and CCM are establishing a strong partnership to merge auto systems design with composites materials, design and manufacturing to lightweight composites door for high-volume production.”



  1. Achieve a 42.5% weight reduction
    • Base weight = 31.8 kg | Target Weight = 18.28 kg
  2. Zero compromise on performance targets
    • Similar crash performance
    • Similar durability and everyday use/misuse performance
  3. Maximum cost induced is 5$ per pound. (.453 kg)
    • Allowable cost increase = $ 150.1 per door
  4. Scalability
    • Annual production of 20,000 vehicles
  5. Recyclability
    • Project goal is 100% recyclable (self imposed)


  • Honda R&D Americas
  • U.S. Department of Energy
lightweighting door illustration