• Apr 9, 2010
Carbon fiber has long been heralded as a wonder material for the automotive industry due to its inherent strength and light weight. Despite this favorable strength-to-weight ratio and the fact that it's now been around for decades in one form or another, the composite has yet to see widespread use in our cars and trucks. There are a number of reasons for this, including the well-known duo of cost and manufacturing difficulties.
With the backing of BMW, though, it seems that the time may finally have come for carbon fiber to come to the fore of automotive technologies. Now, another German company, automotive supplier ZF, is looking to get in on the front line of composite technology with a new carbon fiber MacPherson strut assembly.

According to the manufacturer, this new suspension component cuts up to 9 pounds at each corner through the use of an integrated wheel carrier, a piston rod of carbon fiber, a fiberglass spring (a use seen on cars such as the Corvette for years) and a plastic top mounting plate. While this unit is initially designed for the upcoming wave of small cars, ZF says the technology can be applied to larger offerings as well.

[Source: Automobile Magazine]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hmm... I wonder if this is the sort of thing BMW will be building at their new carbon fiber manufacturing plant in central Washington state? They claim to have chosen the site because of its abundant, cheap hydroelectric power. Could be we'll see a wave of new domestically produced carbon parts in the not too distant future.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very cool. However, like cermaic brakes, the only chance to ever see this on a production car would be exotics.

      • 4 Years Ago
      This thing will break like the AA A300 vertical stabilizer.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the kind of technology that is going to be essential for car manufacturers in cutting weight in an effort to improve fuel economy. I would expect that in 20 years carbon fiber will be a rather boring mundane aspect of auto manufacturing; something that is just expected to be used.
      • 4 Years Ago
      hmm.

      carbon fiber struts. co-developed with BMW. retrofit kit for my 2004 mini please?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I sure hope the shock damper portion is a separate cartridge, else they're going to be real expensive when it wears out.
      • 4 Years Ago
      from what I read in the articles links this is a high tech part
      that is developed for/by BMW to put in the Megacity EV.

      Wait and see how other manufacturers implement carbon,
      you can be sure that BMW has engineered this to last/perform
      as it needs to in this particular application.
        • 4 Years Ago
        hmmm..... ya so it looks like SGL and ZF are designing for the microcar/lightweight EV segment... not the supercars or family cars. isn't this just a "concept" piece? Still it's amazing to think of.... wow.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah! says the Toyota Camry/Venza and Porsche Cayman/Boxster
      [four wheel struts]
      • 4 Years Ago
      9 lbs per wheel is quite a bit. Should do wonders for handling. I am surprised we don't see wider use of plastic springs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But would this be considered unsprung weight? As in, the same performance gains as switching to ultra light weight rims?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow - perfect for Nissan GTR.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If only the GT-R used front struts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah right. So what happens when this gets damaged or worn out and needs replacement? If you had this on, for example, a BMW 1 series, and it wore out after 10-12 years, you would wind up totaling your vehicle to replace its suspension. Ridiculous. This should be reserved for exotics.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The theory would be that by the time this is in production on a large enough scale for typical consumer cars (under 30k?), the manufacturing techniques would be such that these could be produced relatively affordably. It's not going to be expensive in comparison to modern times, where a shelby cobra's oem cf hood apparently costs 10k from the dealer, or a CF car frame is a major contributing factor in making the car cost over 1 million dollars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the concept is to ride with efficiency then I'd say this carbon fiber design is definitely where it's at. I like the design in general too.

      James J ASIB.org
      What's the point of life said the guy up there? There is no point he said!
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