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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)




Two decades ago, choosing lightweight materials for a performance car was simple, although somewhat limited material-wise. Still, knowledeable enthusiasts understood less weight equaled better performance. In order to shed weight, you used fiberglass & aluminum, although titanium was available, it was cost prohibitive. Smart guys used chrome-moly steel for fabricated parts, using stronger tubes where needed & paring weight elsewhere. This process is still in use today.

Breakthroughs in materials & a growing aerospace market for high-tech, lightweight products accelerated the evolution of racecar construction through the 80s. Sharp minds noticed different materials available to replace fiberglass (and in some cases, steel). The most common was a Kevlar-based composite, but had it's drawbacks, such as eating jigsaw blades during trimming. That's when carbon fiber composites began to enter the racing & general aviation marketplaces.

The Material Facts
Steel, aluminum, titanium, fiberglass, & carbon fiber all attempt to achieve the ultimate yet often elusive strength-vs-weight criteria necessary in a performance car. However, they differ from each other in the strength, stiffness, weight, fatigue resistance, corrosion properties, & so forth. For example, using aluminum or titanium in the same tube dimensions as a traditional section of steel will reduce weight, but will also produce excessive flexibility. Because of this non-ferrous metal structures typically have a larger mass than an identical steel version (esp high strength strength) in order to regain regidity.



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why dont you cut the pages out? unless u wanna keep the mag. together..
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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truu.. maybe try to take a picture of it if they're coming out bad.. the one's above are ok though
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Ok, this is how this is how it's going to play out......I've tried scanning at the highest resolution that could be accepted & still can't make out the words on the 1st page, even after making modifictions in photobucket to enhance. So, I've decided to post each page from the article & then give a brief narrative. It'll take a while, so I'm just going to do a page here & there to continuously give you guys something to read. It'll be in this thread, so check it from time to time if your interested. I installed the 1st narrative in the 1st post below the article. So, read above to learn some about carbon fiber.



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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The Material Facts Continued

Here is an example of a dry carbon fiber kit that you could use at home. This K&N Engineering kit is
for emergency repair of carbon fiber parts & retails for $147.00.


You can see how large an autoclave is in comparison to the average person. This isn't a piece of
equipment that you would have in your garage.



Metal components usually do not fail due to a single catastrophic load. Instead they fail because of repeated stresses, called fatigue. Steel & titanium have defined minimum fatigue limits. If the stresses are smaller than these limits, these smaller forces generally don't shorten the fatigue life of the component. Aluminum is different, it has no such specific endurance limit. Each stress cycle, no matter how small, take the material a bit closer to fatigue failure. Actually, this sounds worse that it is. Engineers who use aluminum structural components usually understand this limitation & will overbuild aluminum structures.

Titanium's high strength, light weight, resilience, & resistance to corrosion make it a well suited racing commodity. Since it is a metal, many of the same mechanical properties that limit steel & aluminum also limit titanium. Metals are equally strong & stiff in all directions (engineers call the property "isotropic"). Once the cross-section geometry of a metal tube is determined to meet a given strength or stiffness requirement in one plane, an engineer lacks the freedom to meet varying demands for strength or stiffness in any other plane. In metal tubes, by setting the diameter & the wall thickness to meet bending standards, the torsional & lateral bending stiffness are automatically established.

Composites are another matter entirely. Composites consist of reinforcing woven fibers, particles, or whiskers that are embedded in a matrix of resin material. Advanced composites are composed of engineered fibers combined with polymer, metal, or ceramic matrices to form a single ply or "lamina." By combining several plies of lamina together, a "laminate" structure is formed to the desired shape. Combining these woven fabrics with a thermosetting adhesive (using the hair-like fibers of carbon, glass, & boron) creates a material with amazing strength & stiffness. They make structures that are as strong & rigid as a metal one of equal size, but with considerably less weight. Until the binder (typically some form of resin) is hardened by a chemical reaction (heat), the resin-soaked fibers can be molded or formed into virtually any shape. Obviously, this isn't always possible or affordable with metals.

There's more to this stiffness issue than first meets the eye. According to Brian Vermillion, vice president of operations at P&C Engineering Consultants, " The modulous or stiffness of a composite will depend upon the percentage of 0 degree, plus-or-minus 45 degree, & 90 degree plies in the lay-up." This means the way the fabricator orients the fibers determines the strength in different directions.

Composites are "anisotropic", which means the strength & stiffness is only realized along the axis of the fibers that can be arranged in any desired pattern. In order to absorb the variable stresses of a given component, composite structures can use multiple layers with different fiber angles for each. This puts strength only where it is needed, while minimizing weight.



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That autoclave is tiny compared to the ones I 've seen at Boeing. My dad is in plumbing maintanence there and he's shown me around they have some awesome equipment there. There composite machines are cool to watch.
 

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I don't care how big an autoclave is used, as long as, my CF parts are made in one. As the information I'm putting up progresses, you will understand why.
Heres my next Carbon Fiber purchase!

Gibson Flying V New Century Electric Guitar with Carbon Fiber Pickguard

 

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I've been working with carbon fiber for a few years now doing a lot of custom one off gear. I have to admit it has great benefits but mostly now the scene uses for astetics now than anything
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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never said you wanted to go "rice" and if you tell me the gt35R full dry carbon or a few show winning CF cars are "rice" which is funny. I just meant it's part of our scene now adays. CF is not rice unless you got like stupid bits and peices everywhere. I just finished off two cars, a C6 and a mazda 3 with CF interiors. and trust me it's not rice at all. the trick it to always make CF functional on top of utilization. if done correctly you can make a car look great and have less weight at the same time. and yea using it for accents inside and out can work if done properly. CF is a double edge sword for this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
never said you wanted to go "rice" and if you tell me the gt35R full dry carbon or a few show winning CF cars are "rice" which is funny. I just meant it's part of our scene now adays. CF is not rice unless you got like stupid bits and peices everywhere. I just finished off two cars, a C6 and a mazda 3 with CF interiors. and trust me it's not rice at all. the trick it to always make CF functional on top of utilization. if done correctly you can make a car look great and have less weight at the same time. and yea using it for accents inside and out can work if done properly. CF is a double edge sword for this.
Oh...I wasn't trying to imply that you were suggesting that I'm leaning toward rice, even though Jrod may disagree. I was just saying that my personal use of CF will be for weight savings only & not for asthetics (if it enhances asthetices fine), while at the same time mentioning that most CF on cars nowadays is just kids buying fiberglass laminated w/CF that ends up looking ricey. I kept my post too brief now that I reflect back on it.



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that's very true. I'll admit that. but so you know I'm developing parts with a company local who does alot of full CF work and deff his pride in what they do. no fiberglass laminated W/CF shit. true CF peices. so if you guys have ideas Just PM me bc they were just here and we were discussing on developing parts for the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Reality of Tuner Parts

:read:
The one process most common with carbon fiber for general purpose is called dry fiber. this is where the carbon fiber is laid into a mold while the resin is poured in & brushed over each layer that is applied. This process is very similar to how people work with conventinal fiberglass & resin. The problem with this method is that air pockets can form, which adversely affect the integrity of the product. Secondly, the impregnation of the carbon fiber cloth is inconsistant as best. This can result in a heavier product (from too much resin), or a weak product (too little resin). More importantly, there will be a varying level of resin penetration throughout the product, which will result in inconsistant strength. So be forewarned.

Curious as to how a manufacturer building parts in more serious numbers went about the process of building carbon fiber components, we made a visit to K&N engineering. We had the opportunity of peeking into the Advanced Composites Fabrication Facility, where K&N manufactures carbon fiber scoops & air boxes for spring cars, as well as, carbon fiber heat shields for some of it's Typhoon intake kits.

K&N uses the pre-impregnated carbon fiber material, which already has the resin impregnated within the carbon fiber mat. The pre-impregnated carbon fiber is maintained in a frozed state to prevent its curing. By using prepreg carbon fiber, there is less mess when working with the raw material, it is easily handled, there is nothing to spill or mix, & nothing to clean up. The carbon fiber is simply cut & laid into a pre-made mold, in as many layers that are needed for the desired thickness & resulting streength.

Once the desired thickness is aquired, the mold is then placed into a vaccuum bad. Vacuum is used to create a negative pressure that extacts ambient air & holds the carbon fiber firmly against the mold during the curing process. Each mold has it's own vacuum port that is connected within the autoclave prior to the curing process. In order for the carbon fiber to become solid, it must be heated to approximately 270 degrrees F for the resin to properly cure. By using the autoclave, it's possible to have very consistant results & a very durable product by using high temeratures & vacuum, which help form the carbon fiber into a compact package.

Once the curing process is complete, the molds are removed from the autoclave & the carbon fiber product is removed by using a tool similar to a putty knife. Some minor trimming of excess carbon fiber is removed & the product is given a quick wiper down with a cleaner/polish material before being packaged for shipping. Products like the lid that goes on the end of a filter receive an additional process to bond it to the filter material.



1. K&N engineering stores its pre-impregnated carbon fiber mat in freezers at 0 degrees to prevent the resin from curing prematurely.
2. Once the carbon fiber mat is removed from the freezer, it's sized & cut.
3. Here are the cut pieces prior to being placed into the mold.
4A,B. The carbon fiber is carefully placed into the mold.
5. Here we can see the mold inside a vacuum bag. A gauge shows -70kPa of vacuum is used for this part.
6. The molds are placed into the autoclave & connected to vacuum lines. The autoclave heats the carbon fiber to 270 degrees F in order to cure the resin in the carbon fiber.
7. Once the piece is dried, it is removed from the mold.



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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Man, I'm glad that I decided to post this & even more pleased that I'm having to rewrite the whole thing to make it legible. I say this because I didn't realize how long it's been since I've read this article &/or researched carbon fiber. I forgot a lot of info & considering how much I will be investing in CF parts, it's good to take a refresher course. For anyone interested in purchasing ANY CF parts, these pages I'm presenting are a must read IMO.



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^ lol I know been brushing up in my CF shit too. been awhile since I've made CF parts and now it's the it thing.

Tufast: I started a thread on the services and ideas on what I wanna try to get made. so let me know.
 
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