Carbon fibre, as we all hear so often, is a high-performance material with the inherent characteristics of hard carbon and the processing characteristics of soft textile fibres, and is known as the king of materials.
It is often used as a high-end material in aircraft, rockets and bullet-proof vehicles. Carbon fibre was first used in automobiles in Formula 1 cars. Now it is also used in civilian cars, painted black with a deliberately black patterned carbon fibre component, which is a pleasure to drive.
How does the ultra-light, soft nature of the fibre material make it a strong automotive component? How can the expensive price of carbon fibre be reduced when used in cars?
The best carbon fibre technology is available in Japan and the USA. Japan is the largest producer of carbon fibre in the century, with half of the world’s carbon fibre production capacity.
Edison invented carbon fibre in 1880, yes the same Edison who invented the light bulb. Carbon fibre was discovered when experimenting with filaments, and after more than 100 years of development, BMW used carbon fibre in the i3 and i8 in 2010, opening up the application of carbon fibre in cars.
Carbon fibres as a reinforcing material and resin as a base material make up carbon fibre composites.
Carbon fibre is used in car frames, seats, hoods, drive shafts, mirrors etc. Carbon fibre for cars has several advantages.
Lightweight: the current very hot electric cars, due to the battery technology limited by the short range of its development has become a bottleneck, it can only be solved from the body structure and material replacement. Carbon fibre composites are 1/2 lighter than steel and 1/3 lighter than aluminium, with the most direct impact being a longer range and greater energy efficiency.
Comfort: The soft and tensile properties of carbon fibre will improve the noise and vibration control of the car, which will significantly improve the comfort of the car.
Reliability: Carbon fibre has higher fatigue strength and good crash energy absorption, which reduces the weight of the vehicle while still preserving strength and safety, reducing the safety risk factor that comes with lightweighting.
Improved lifespan: Some accessories on cars require corrosion resistance and are subjected to high temperatures, low temperatures and smoke, and ordinary metal parts cannot guarantee their lifespan in different environments. The absence of corrosion and rust problems with carbon fibre enhances the service life of automotive components.
The carbon fibre manufacturing process
Drawing: the raw material is heated and it is the reinforcement material.
Reinforcing material for winding and forming, mainly various fibre yarns: e.g. alkali-free glass fibre yarn, medium alkali glass fibre yarn, carbon fibre yarn, high strength glass fibre yarn, aramid fibre yarn and surface felts. Resin matrix, and various fillers. Extruded to form gel-shaped filaments, plastic fibres are made up of thousands of counted fine filaments.
Stabilisation: oxidation by heating at 400°C converts the thermoplastic macromolecule into a heat-resistant structure. This makes it non-melting and non-flammable at high temperatures, keeping the fibre shape and the heat in a stable state of carbonisation. Heating at 1,000-2,000 degrees drives off the non-carbon atoms, which turn black with the high temperature oxidation and are then bonded to the fibres by carbonisation in a carbonisation furnace.