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Common carbon-fiber cars

Common carbon-fiber cars

In an article on CNET, Michael Kanellos writes about the carbon-fiber industry and how the material is becoming more cost effective and workable for automakers. The material has been used in a few cars, notably the Corvette Z06, to reduce weight without sacrificing rigidity and protection. With carbon-fiber prices possibly dropping to five dollars a pound, automakers can slip in carbon-fiber body parts in spots that will make a difference, such as roof and pillars, or make whole bodies out of the material. According to a quote from the article, carbon fiber is five times as strong and two times as stiff as steel. But with current steel prices at less than a dollar a pound, it's hard to see carbon fiber being competitive anytime soon. Here's a release from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that also discusses replacing steel with carbon fiber in auto bodies.