There's been plenty of talk about carmakers moving to lighter materials like carbon fiber to reduce weight, improve fuel economy
and enhance the driving experience. Two years ago, Honda
formed a consortium to research
the mass-market implementation of carbon fiber. Last year, BMW
launched its own joint venture
to do the same. Lamborghini
joined the party when it opened its own CF research center
earlier this year. In practice, though, use of composites for large panels is still limited to spendier offerings like the BMW M3
, Audi R8 V10 Spyder
and the exotic classes.
CEO Alan Mulally gives a reason for that. "We cannot make a business case for composites in the auto industry," he says, citing the work left to be done on producing better steel and alloys. Mulally adds that getting enough composites to meet a volume maker's needs and the sheer cost of production nixes the prospect for now. Instead, thermosetting plastics – different than thermoplastics – are a solution more near-at-hand.
Photo Copyright ©2010 Alex Núñez /AOL
[Source: Dow Jones