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Old 09-25-2009, 06:02 AM
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Carbon Nanotubes VS Kevlar

I have been looking lately at the many different applications of the Carbon Nanotubes technology, and did some extra research on the possible automotive applications and chassis in particular.

FACTS

- Up to now, the most technically advanced material that is used for chassis construction is Carbon Fibre composites.

- The tensile strength of the basic fibre used in F1 according to the rules must be 2.6 GPa The F1 Rulebook.

- Carbon Nanotubes' tensile strength (Armchair Single Wall Carbon Nanotubes) is 4 times stronger compared to Kevlar (126 GPa vs 30 GPa) Carbon nanotube - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

INQUIRY

Can Carbon Nanotubes be used as the next generation of materials of F1 chassis construction?

- A very fast prediction would be that since Carbon Nanotubes' tensile strength is 4 times bigger than Kevlar's, maybe an equivalent F1 Chassis would be 4 times lighter

- In any case, a next generation of very strong chassis construction materials would mean that carbon technology could be filtered to many more road cars. After all the Lotus Elise chassis was revolutionary in 1995, but a 2015 carbon interpretation for the same money would be far better
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Last edited by lightweight; 09-25-2009 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:31 AM
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Carbon tub's been around for 20+ years, yet the actual filtering is not really happening to a "general" automotive level. Mainly because the mass production manufacturing is next to impossible on the scale that normal cars are made. Lotus Elise's chassis was made strong, light and EASY to make. Most carbon composite structure is anything but easy to make. While its true that there are more and more individual components are made of this stuff, for the technology to really go to the basic level of automotive something no less of a huge manufacturing breakthrough have to happen first....
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:37 AM
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Too costly. Most automotive companies won't be too happy about spending extra money on something quite unnecessary. Maybe only the top tier exotic car brands will try.
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Old 09-25-2009, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RacingManiac View Post
Most carbon composite structure is anything but easy to make. While its true that there are more and more individual components are made of this stuff, for the technology to really go to the basic level of automotive something no less of a huge manufacturing breakthrough have to happen first....
Quite true. But my thoughts on this topic is that many companies try to make carbon less labour-intensive and adapt it to series production, if possible.

For example McLaren stated that the Carbon MonoCell of the MP4-12 road car is 5% of the cost of the McLaren F1 Chassis. Of course this doesn't mean that it can be adapted to mass production or that it is cheap enough for use by sportscars.

But I would like to believe that developments on the production planning might cut costs. The material costs can obviously be reduced if more quantities are used by the manufacturer.
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Old 09-25-2009, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Roentgen View Post
Too costly. Most automotive companies won't be too happy about spending extra money on something quite unnecessary. Maybe only the top tier exotic car brands will try.
More and more of them use it already, opposed to the 90's where McLaren was the first to start in 93.

Of course it would be quite extreme to see it in a Audi TT, but what about a 911, or an Evora / Esprit?
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Old 09-25-2009, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightweight View Post
More and more of them use it already, opposed to the 90's where McLaren was the first to start in 93.

Of course it would be quite extreme to see it in a Audi TT, but what about a 911, or an Evora / Esprit?
Isn't that new McLaren MP4-12C thing all carbon too? Anyway, I was thinking more along the lines of using it in an everyday family car
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Old 09-25-2009, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roentgen View Post
Isn't that new McLaren MP4-12C thing all carbon too? Anyway, I was thinking more along the lines of using it in an everyday family car
Chasis only, isn't it?
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:07 AM
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Carbon chassis repairs are very specialised and expensive.

The will be the clear issue. A twisted steel monocoque can be jacked back into alignment on jigs and everyone can weld.

Creating heat and vaccum on repair sections ain't so easy for c/f.

BUT more and more cars are becomng write-offs due to costly repairs.
I know of a few RX-8s that insurance companies wrote off despite not being "too bad".
However, who'd wnat to risk a pathc/weld/twist on those doors being integral to safety cel ?? NOT ME
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:28 AM
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My understanding about carbon fire is that managing the production process is too much headache and expensive. I beleive a company like Boeing attempted to use the same technology for their most recent development----Boeing 787, and they failed miserably at getting the technology to work well with the aircraft. I beleive they have shifted delivery of the aircraft to airlines around the world, about 3 times. They are still working on getting the carbon-fibre part to work properly on the Boeing 787.

I also watched a documentary on the design of the Joint Strike Fighter where carbon fibre was also put to the test in the design of the wings of the test model created by Boeing. Its amazing how precise the heating and forming process has to be for a carbon-fibre system to turn out well. In effect, a carbon-fibre system is so delicate that in many cases, it requires the destruction of many flawed parts/moldings in order to produce just one good part. This is why carbon fibre is not yet in mass production relative to the high production of commuter cars. Are the auto manufacturers prepared to eat so many losses in order to produce one good part, and are consumers ready to accept such losses as cost of owning their cars? And then, the maintenance aspect is a nightmare. Almost always, damaged carbon-fibre parts are never fixed---they just get removed and a brand new part is used as a replacement.

I also happened to have been around artists (sculptors) who use carbon fibre to create light weight moldings of their sculptures for future use. The degree of care and expertise required in creating such moldings without causing any bubbling of the molding, is insane. I saw first hand how many moldings an artist had to destroy in order to create the perfect molding. And the perfect molding depended on the right temperature, humidity, settling time, etc. It was just insane. But when the right molding was achieved, it was as light as paper and as realistic as the real deal. You could lift a life size carbon-fibre molding of a 6 foot man, with just one hand.

Just my personal experience with carbon-fibre world.
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Old 09-25-2009, 09:47 AM
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^^ That's why enclaves are used for "production" Vaccuum and heat pulls them out !

Tho A friend made his own c/f panels for his Darrian ... and then told to stop by the company !!!! So where it's not load bearing it's not so crucial.

BUT still too expensive.

Am intrigued if the documentary on the JSF and new son the 787 mentioned that Airbus Industries are doing fine using carbin fibre in their planes COULD NOT RESIST


THE best pic I've seen of the Airbus military transport A400
BUilding on the experience of Airbus on carbon fibre tail planes and partial carbon fibre structures, the wings are carbon fibre -- made in the UK
Delivbery problems and cost/schedule over-runs meant the intended engines were tested in Hercs and the plane isn't meeting it's lift objectives. Short by 3 tons .. ... which is a lot of ammunition
The Filton site reported the wings had been undergoing their test-to-destruction and met every objective !
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...0Airbus%20Says << clearly not any one thing by the sounds of it.
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Last edited by Matra et Alpine; 09-25-2009 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:43 AM
G35COUPE G35COUPE is offline
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I do beleive its multiple issues that Boeing had. However, the last i heard, they had issues with the carbon fibre as it relates to joining the wings to the fuselage. One thing i would like to add is that Boeing has gone into damage control mode, and so will report and say things to keep the business going. They have repeatedly failed in many other projects to include the refuelling tanker contract which Airbus was able to snap up from the Pentagon, until political powers scrapped the contract, and with the JSF contract that went to Lockheed.

So, public relations and damage control by Boeing, wouldn't be out of the question at all. At least, of the 900 Boeing 787 planes that were ordered, Boeing has lost 50 of them as a result of the bad press they have been receiving with the problems they have had in the design and manufacture of the Boeing 787 aircraft. And even then, the aircraft is just about to start its test flight, which means other bugs would have to be worked out as well.

Last edited by G35COUPE; 09-25-2009 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 09-25-2009, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
Carbon chassis repairs are very specialised and expensive.

However, who'd wnat to risk a pathc/weld/twist on those doors being integral to safety cel ?? NOT ME
I think that this sums up why "post-serious crash" ease of repair is not such an important factor in deciding to move to carbon fibre. Moreover, Carbon means that there will be fewer write-offs because of the strength of the construction
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:39 AM
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^ depends how they do the deformable zones
Also what at the moment is only a slight misalgnment of a wheel is going to result in a sheared carbon/fibre mount point. NO give is not always the best thing to have in real-world environs.

Last Years Lola tub had a corner torn off in qualu at Le Mans and they spent all night laminating and rebuilding the corner and didn't get the nod till an hour to go that the scrutineers were happy the repair in the corner was OK.

A carbon fibre chassis Ford Focus that wife has just clipped a kerb with driving at 40mph will be expensive to repair/replace ... whereas with current metal they'd likely adjust the suspension and accept the chassis is a couple of mm out having distorted. C/f woudl ahve sheared/snapped/delaminated
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
^ depends how they do the deformable zones
Also what at the moment is only a slight misalgnment of a wheel is going to result in a sheared carbon/fibre mount point. NO give is not always the best thing to have in real-world environs.

Last Years Lola tub had a corner torn off in qualu at Le Mans and they spent all night laminating and rebuilding the corner and didn't get the nod till an hour to go that the scrutineers were happy the repair in the corner was OK.

A carbon fibre chassis Ford Focus that wife has just clipped a kerb with driving at 40mph will be expensive to repair/replace ... whereas with current metal they'd likely adjust the suspension and accept the chassis is a couple of mm out having distorted. C/f woudl ahve sheared/snapped/delaminated
Hmm. Interesting, didn't know that it could be THAT bad...

A C/F Focus would be too much, but I would love to see an Evora or a GT-R. They would sell like hot-cakes if the price could be made right.

Anyways the debate has concentrated on carbon. Does anyone have an expertise on Carbon nanotubes? How would that turn out?
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:57 AM
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Hmm. Interesting, didn't know that it could be THAT bad...

A C/F Focus would be too much, but I would love to see an Evora or a GT-R. They would sell like hot-cakes if the price could be made right.
Why? A 1100kg Focus (or whatever the weight savings would be), instead of a 1300kg one, would be brilliant.

Of course it seems it's not a sensible idea unfortunately.
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