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Carbon Fiber in Automotive Applications

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Carbon fiber composite materials are increasingly being used in the automotive industry because of their safety implications and crashworthiness. The crashworthiness refers to the ability to absorb impact energy and be survivable for the passengers. Therefore, the two important safety concepts in the automotive industry to consider, crashworthiness and penetration resistance. Therefore an effective material should have the potential of absorption of energy through controlled failure modes and mechanisms that provide a gradual decay in the load profile during absorption. Carbon fiber composites are generally characterized by a brittle than ductile response to load.

Therefore the geometrical and dimensional aspects have a key role in different stages of crash hence making carbon fiber composites appropriate for use in the manufacture of these vehicles. The debut of the hood and roof commercially is a very important step in automotive carbon fiber composite materials. Currently, carbon fiber composite materials are the strongest and lightest materials in the automotive construction industry. The manufacturers acknowledge the carbon fiber composite materials offer an ideal means of reducing the mass of the vehicles without the the safety of the vehicles.

However, relatively high cost of carbon fiber composite materials, the time required in processing, the high expenses incurred in the processing of autoclave and inadequate predictive-engineering tools  have led to only a few manufacturers embark on mass production of high-end vehicles using carbon fiber composite materials. (Pimenta & Pinho, 2011)In the low volume production, the autoclave processing is fast enough to supply the parts required for the production. In order to recover the expense of manufacturing the super-premium materials, the retail price of manufacturers is high enough.

However, in the manufacturing of many units of automobiles, the cure for autoclave is slow and expensive hence need to find resins that cure the autoclave faster and also develop new processing derivatives

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