’Cheap’ Carbon Fiber being developed by Ford and Dow Automotive Systems
Car manufacturers simply love carbon fiber. Especially high end, exotic sports car makers. Yep, engineers in Italy literally live and breathe carbon fiber, and as carbon fiber has developed, it’s become more accessible and slightly cheaper up to the point where ‘regular’ car manufacturers are considering using the material once reserved for the most exotic of exotics. One problem still remains, and that’s the simple fact that carbon fiber is still too expensive.
Sure, the actual fibers used to begin the process of creating carbon fiber may be relatively cheap, but the main costs are derived from the intensive manufacturing process and considering that carbon fiber is often applied by hand, it’s easy to understand why it is so expensive. Furthermore, individual carbon filaments used to make the stuff can be five micrometers thin, and yes, that’s a lot thinner than the average human hair.
However, if Ford and Dow Automotive Systems have their way, carbon fiber should become accessible to the ‘masses.’
The two are currently researching ways to increase carbon fiber production while also making it simpler and more cost-effective to construct. The biggest reason behind the new partnership is the belief that Ford will someday, in the not too distant future, be able to construct sedans entirely out of carbon fiber, such as the Ford Fusion, but in order to do so, the duo really have their work cut out.
It’s not yet known how much this venture is costing, but we feel unless Ford and Dow really come up with the goods, the American brand may be better off investing this money elsewhere, such as improved car safety. Or perhaps that’s what this is all about, car safety.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Source: Motor Authority