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Reducing weight with Carbon Fiber

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Tags: Carbon Fiber » Lightweighting

The lighter a vehicle is, the less energy required to move the vehicle, hence the lest fuel or other energy required to operate the vehicle. Most automakers are looking into weight reduction, with some moving to developing carbon fiber as a material used to build mass market vehicles. So far, because carbon fiber is so expensive, it's been limited to specialty vehicles.

Examples of carbon fiber use in vehicles

the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner skin is 80% (or there about) carbon fiber.

GM looking to bring carbon fiber to mass production vehicles - (www.torquenews.com) http://www.torquenews.com/1075/gm-looking-bring-carbon-fiber-mass-production-vehicles?goback=.gde_52038_member_84767376

GM and Teijin announced a plan to work together on expanding Teijin's carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic technology for mass production use. If it works out we'll see the technology used to reduce vehicle weight in the future, which should lead to fuel savings, while keeping the vehicle just as strong.

The traditional way to convert carbon fiber material into something like automobile parts is with thermosetting resins that take a long time to mold into the desired shape. Teijin's approach uses a thermoplastic which sets in under a minute, drastically reducing the time required to produce a part. This has the potential to become a process that can be used in scale needed for GM's manufacturing plants.

Teijin Composites Application Center to open in 2012 "in the northern part of the United States".

Disposal of waste

Europe does not allow carbon fiber in land fills or traditional disposal.

Two carbon fiber recycling facilities are in the UK and one in Texas, there is potentially another in France.

Toxic?

toxic to manipulate, hazardous waste producer

Carbon fiber alone is no more toxic than glass fiber, i.e. insulation.

Alternatives?

Hemp composites? Other bioplastics or biocomposites?

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