When i went to my first car meet, there were so many beautiful exotic cars that i could barely keep myself from going insane. However, as time went on, i kept seeing a common theme..

I kept seeing cars that had an exposed weave of some kind. As a newby car lover, I had no idea what it was. Later on that same day, I asked around and learned that the glossy exposed weave I had been noticing on many of the cars was called ‘Carbon Fiber’.

The Carbon Fiber Weave I was seeing on those cars is a material consisting of thin, strong crystalline filaments of carbon, woven together as a strengthening material.

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Car manufacturers use Carbon Fiber to reduce the weight of vehicles while increasing overall chassis strength and rigidity. It’s also not too bad to look at as well… 

WEIGHT

Carbon Fiber Rim
Post By: Richard – Image Source: wheelsnews.com

One of the main reasons why luxury vehicles use Carbon Fiber is because of its lightweight properties.

Just How light weight can it be though?

Generally, a Carbon Fiber part weighs only a third as much as a steel part of the same overall volume.

It has been found that replacingjus tthe hood on a Mitsubishi Eclipse, with a 9-pound carbon fiber one, it produces a weight savings of 31 pounds!

This is like magically pulling 6 bricks out of your hood! 

Not satisfied with the weight savings?

But, how is Carbon Fiber so light?

Carbon Fiber isn’t actually that light, the layout of its atoms makes for extreme rigidity and strength which means that you can use less building material.

At the atomic structure, carbon fiber is very similar to Graphite. Both of their atoms are arranged in hexagonal ‘sheets’. The main difference between the two is how the interlock together.

Strength

Carbon Fiber Nissan GT-R Spoiler

Carbon Fiber gets its strength from its extreme rigidity in a given direction.

Conventional manufacturing metals like Aluminum or steel are known as ‘isotropic’ materials.

i·so·trop·ic definition

These conventional metals are isotropic, they have the same strength when measured in all different directions.

Think about it like this. Carbon Fiber is a bundle of flexible filaments that all go in one direction.

In the direction that the carbon weave is going, it is incredibly strong. However, as soon as it starts getting pressure in a different direction, it becomes brittle and weak. Steel and aluminum don’t have to rely on laying down the Fibers in different directions.

   When you use it correctly, Carbon Fiber components can be 31% more rigid, weigh 50% less and have 60% more strength than similar Aluminum components.

Unique Styling 

Carbon Fiber is undoubtedly one of the coolest building materials at the disposal to engineers today. However, I dont think that if you ask anyone who owns a car that is made of carbon fiber or has Carbon accessories, they are going to gush about all of the weight savings and seconds shaved off of lap times.. at least not initially. I can only speak for myself but i think one of the reasons we love seeing carbon fiber cars is, it just looks exotic and different than what we are used to. 

When you look at the Pagani Zonda R above, do you really think it would be as unique as it is if it had a painted aluminum body? Probably not…

We love Carbon Fiber because it’s unique and edgy, because it is cool to look at and admire the weave of carbon.

What was the first race car to use Carbon Fiber?

McLaren MP4/1
McLaren MP4/1

The landmark Formula 1 car from McLaren, the Mp4/1 was the first race car to ever make a complete monocoque chassis from Carbon Fiber. The car was launched in 1981 and was used up until the 1983 season.

The masterful engineer behind the cars creation, was John Barnard. The same man credited to bringing the semi-automatic gearbox to formula 1 in 1989.

The most notable driver who drove the MP4/1 was none other than Niki Lauda. 

Over the MP4’s racing history, the car brought McLaren 6 wins, 11 other podium finishes and a complete total of 113 points.

Fantastic Resistance To Heat

Formula 1 Carbon Fire
Image Credit: Imgur.com

One of the fantastic benefits of carbon fiber is its high tolerance of heat.

Depending on the specific weave of carbon, the materials used and the way it is baked will largely affect the resistance to heat that is has.

Your average run-of-the-mill carbon fiber weave with a standard epoxy can keep its structural integrity up to a temperature of 70°-100° degrees Celsius (160-210 °F).

If the particular piece needs to have a heat resistance above your standard resistance, you need to use carbon fiber Prepreg.

Basically what Prepreg is ‘pre-impregnated’ composite fibers where a thermoset polymer material/resin is already present. When using pre-preg carbon fiber, you can see heat resistance rise to 230°C/445°F utilizing 
Prepreg Gurit EP127.


Koenigsegg Agera S


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