World Automotive Giants Initiated Steps to Enhance the Use of Carbon Fibers in Vehicle Manufacture, According to Industry Experts18 Jan 2013 • by Natalie Aster
Surface transportation has been immensely influenced by volatile oil prices and increasing human contribution to global warming and environmental pollution, with demand for fuel efficient vehicles taking the center stage. Automobile manufacturers are seriously viewing the option of cutting down vehicle weight by the use of innovative materials, such as carbon fiber composites in low-cost mass production cars. However, this segment is expected to record less than anticipated growth, when compared to the mid-priced automobile category. Utilization of carbon fibers has hitherto been the prerogative in very high-end cars for justifying the high material cost, though this scenario has witnessed some change.
According to the report “Carbon Fibers & Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) - A Global Market Overview” by Industry Experts, carbon fibers, weighing about one-fifth as much as steel even while being comparable or better in stiffness and strength based on fiber grade and orientation, have caught the fancy of automakers.
Carbon Fibers & Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) - A Global Market Overview
Published: January, 2013
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Composites manufactured using carbon fibers are rustproof and corrosion-free, as against steel or aluminum. They also enable in reducing vehicle weight by 50%-70%, which results in enhancing fuel economy. Also, high-strength carbon fibers make the vehicle safer in occasions of severe crashes. In general, the firm establishment of composites and associated technologies in the automobile industry has to take several other factors into account. These include requirement of cycle time and cost abatement, as well as composites that deliver superior performance. If such factors are put in place, it is anticipated that carbon composites would be regular features of mainstream automobiles by 2030.
This is very much in congruity with plug-in cars, such as the Toyota hybrid Prius, developed in 2006 that just requires to be plugged into a regular household power socket for recharging. Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford and Mitsubishi have since then been instrumental in developing plug-in models, and researchers are of the opinion that by 2050, gasoline engines would be replaced by stronger batteries, lightweight carbon fiber components and mass production of electric cars.
The automotive industry currently employs carbon fibers in chassis, spoilers, propeller shafts, roofs and external parts, though the same are exclusively used for racing cars and high-end luxury models.
On the other hand, Mercedes, Ford, General Motors and BMW, to name a few, have initiated steps to enhance the use of carbon fibers in vehicle manufacture, thereby reducing vehicle weight, improving fuel consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, using carbon fibers enables in decreasing total number of vehicle parts, thereby speeding up the manufacturing process with greater flexibility and less cost.
More information can be found in the report “Carbon Fibers & Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) - A Global Market Overview” by Industry Experts.
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