Probably the field that has the most extensive use of carbon fiber is the automotive. Since the material has fantastic strength considering its weight, it has become absorbed by high-performance racing cars. The manufacturers developed various methods to moderate the expensive cost of this material by distributing the amounts of strength needed from the composite in different parts. For instance, the fibers are engaged more in load-bearing direction for more strength, and at the same time, less applications where little or no load is needed. They also formulate a so-called omni-directional weaves. This means that the strength is applied uniformly in all directions at all times.
This is usually applied in the chassis of high-end racing cars. For the past two decades, many manufacturers of racing cars found more applications of this material. The best application of which, is the so-called “safety cell.” It is the car’s monocoque chassis. It is the integration of the chassis to its body in a single unit. Car body panels are also readily made for high-end cars not only because of its strength but also because of its lightness in weight compared to glass reinforced polymer, which they used to apply.
Some more famous car parts and accessories that use this material are fenders, hoods, lips, trunks, bonnets, and boots.
Whereas before, when carbon fiber is still limitedly used in automotive because of its expensive cost, mass production seemed a little possible. However, as the years pass by, we witness the mass production of this material to supply for the growing demands for automotive field alone. There are several factors affecting this change. For one, there are better ways developed to reinforce this material to other composites while performance is not compromised. Hence, it has become cost-effective. Also, a number of expert individuals who are ready to work with these composites also mushroomed conspicuously. Due to these reasons, other car manufacturers joined the pool of using this composite in their brands. Thus, we now normally see this material being applied to mainstream vehicles. It is not impossible that you probably own one!
Popular brands that pride their products using carbon fiber are Mazda, BMW, Accord, Acura, Chevy, Civic, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Pontiac, Subaru, Eclipse, Ford, Focus, GMC, Nissan, Dodge, Mustang, and Volkswagen.
Now that mainstream cars with carbon fiber are on the road, we hope to have new developments and improvements of this material for further use in automotive applications. Since lighter cars need smaller engines, this means that fuel consumption can be minimized to a great extent with the help of this composite. Truly, there will definitely come a time when such type of cars are on the road for our safety.