• Jun 11th 2006 at 1:55PM
  • 32

In a new entry over at TheTruthAboutCars.com, writer Johnny Lieberman trips the rant fantastic, lambasting carbon fiber-- material of choice for racer and poseur alike. So, what does the writer have against the sought-after weave? Well, it's impact properties, for one (Lieb' recons its accident constitution is a one-and-done proposition), and its indulgent cost for another.
Granted, Lieberman doesn't spill his vitriol on the carbon fiber's motorsports applications, he mainly calls to task the trend where the shiny plaits (or knockoffs thereof) are employed in everything from dashboard appliqués to parking brake handles, the vast majority of which offer few tangible benefits in production cars beyond aesthetics.

What do you think... is carbon fiber over-hyped, or does it remain a desirable material?

[Source: TheTruthAboutCars.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      I think he makes a pretty straightforward and logical argument. CF is not the end-all be-all of composite materials. It does have it's weaknesses.

      As for an internal material, while he might not like the look inside of his car, some people prefer it over brushed aluminum or wood trim. It's really the owners choice on what material he/she should go with, as internal materials are only for show.

      In the end, I think this is just one guy voicing his opinion. In any situation where CF is an option for parts, the chooser must weigh all the factors into the decision. While he makes some good points, this shouldn't detour people from using CF when applicable.
      • 9 Years Ago
      So switching from a 40 or 50 pound steel hood to a 10 to 15 pound CF one yields no benefits, eh? And I suppose that going from a 20 pound steel driveshaft to a 6 pound CF one yields no benefits, either.

      Is it expensive? Of course it is. Exotic materials by definition are. You have to pay to play.
      • 9 Years Ago
      On the topic of CF hoods, it is actually one of the best places on the auto body to lose 10-25 pounds. Most cars, especially Front Wheel Drive cars, are dramatically overweighted to the front wheels. The hood weight is also high and away from the center of rotation of the car.

      All of these combine to multiply the effects of the weight loss and produce a much greater improvement in handling than you might expect.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Talk about wrong information.

      Obviously not every application of Carbon Fiber gets produced in the proper manner, but you don't shoot down an advancement due to a botched design.

      Carbon Fiber has a myriad of other characteristics besides just being able to be hard and stiff.

      The hardness and shear strength are determined mainly from the epoxy resin used and the direction and type of weave of the carbon fiber.

      In other words it can be anywhere from so stiff that it's brittle to so flexible that it flops around.

      Look at racing sailboats. Most all use carbon sails.
      Many thick cables are carbon reinforced.
      Carbon sheets will soon be wrapping bridge support pillars in an area near you.

      This guy is a moron who wrote that stupid misleading article.

      Just because people think it looks cool and is associated with an advanced technology doesn't neccesarily make them wrong.

      What makes them wrong is if it looks bad, has a structural flaw or just plain wasn't designed properly for the application.

      And Kevlar should always be brought up in the same discussion as carbon fiber as it prevents carbon splinters from leaving the part in the event of an incident.

      Thanks for reading-
      News that works for You.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I think it's funny when you see ricers with CF hoods but at the same time have 20's that weigh 50lbs each.
      • 9 Years Ago
      There ARE UV resistant epoxy-resins.

      There are so many different types of epoxy-resin that no single person could remember them all.

      Trying to learn all about the intricacies of laying carbon fiber or the benefits and difficulties with vacuum bagging it or auto-claving takes a while.
      Just like you won't learn how to lay up a perfect weld without first doing research or being taught from someone who knows exactly what they are doing.

      Welding is a talent that requires scientific knowledge for it to be done truly correctly.
      Carbon Fiber is the same exact way.

      If you want to learn how to lay your own carbon fiber, it's not all that hard. It just requires hours worth of knowledge about every single step in the process and how to use the right tools for the job.

      Thanks Again-
      and now You know.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Or better yet, get on a diet and shed that 30-40 pounds off your waistline.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I poop on carbon fiber!
      • 9 Years Ago
      I've heard that unpainted carbon fiber doesn't hold up all that well to UV light. It takes a couple years, but it can deteriorate. If I ever get a carbon fiber hood or other exterior body panels, I'm painting them. Of course, that's also because I like the sleeper look.

      I don't care very much for fake carbon fiber, either. Usually it ends up looking not like carbon fiber, but like black plastic with dots on it. Doesn't really capture what makes carbon fiber look good.

      And I recently saw what must have been the silliest application of fake carbon fiber of all time. Some motorcyclists attach weights to the end of their handlebars to reduce vibration. The more weight, the less vibration. So I was in a motorcycle shop and spotted a set of those meant to look like they were made of carbon fiber! Since real carbon fiber bar end weights would be a rather bad idea, who would want to pretend they had such a useless part? That has got to get some sort of prize for inappropriate material selection, at least until someone builds a carbon fiber windshield.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It's just as useful for trim as chrome and brushed aluminum. If you like it, fine. If you don't, then don't get it and STFU.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Jay: "i.e. if you bail on a carbon fiber bike frame, it wont dent, it will snap after a certain stress point is reached."

      Yes, BUT (and its a big BUT)

      I have owned carbon fiber bikes and have crashed them. In one instance I layed a mountain bike down hard with my weight coming down on the frame, which stopped its downward fall when the top tube of the bike struck a large rock. On an aluminum, steel or titanium frame, this would have been a huge dent, possibly destroying the frame. On the carbon bike, it barely scratched the epoxy of the unpainted frame.

      If designed properly, carbon can be stronger than metals. I suggest it is the material for many, many applications in the future.
      • 9 Years Ago
      most fiberglass hoods weigh less for less money than cf hoods but then you dont get the bling. for the most part carbon fiber is usefull in supercars, racing and dogleting out your civic. the technonlogy isnt quite there for carbon fiber to become a major building material in affordable cars. by the time the problems are worked out, there will probably be something else to comealong that costs less.
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