Carbon fibre – what is this material used in cars?

Carbon fibre – what is this material used in cars?

Carbon fibre is a black fabric weave held together by a transparent resin and weighs one-third to one-fifth the weight of similiar-strength steel. Carbon fibre has had it’s place for a long time in applications such as aerospace and automotive but it is becoming increasingly popular in other fields as well.

Carbon fibre is especially popular in racing, where the material’s unsurpassed strength-to-weight ratio and very low weight is essential for high-end automobile racing.

Cars like the Mclaren F1 uses the material all over the car, including the unibody. Other supercars like Pagani Zonda, Enzo Ferrari and Porsche Carrera GT also apply the material to it’s cars.

The BMW M cars use carbon fibre roofs, where layers of carbon fibre are placed in a 1,800 ton press and moulded into a roof that is half the weight of an equivalent steel roof. Having a light roof not only saves weight but lowers the car’s center of gravity. It’s also great to look at.

The Satria R3 uses carbon fibre here and there in the car. I can only recall the spoiler, gear knob and spark plug cover.

The applications of carbon fibre in the automotive world makes even the mention of the word ooze with luxury and performance appeal. It’s also found it’s place in laptops, naturally because it is lighter.

You have to admit it. Carbon fibre is turning into a fashion statement!

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Paul Tan

After dabbling for years in the IT industry, Paul Tan initially began this site as a general blog covering various topics of personal interest. With an increasing number of readers paying rapt attention to the motoring stories, one thing led to another and the rest, as they say, is history.



  • Mikael_Bonaparte on Aug 01, 2005 at 7:12 am

    They used it in Acer Laptops didn't they? F1 tech in Laptops.

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  • hokkien lang. on Aug 01, 2005 at 9:55 am

    what a "taik" if that carbon fiber put in very very small part in satria r3 did that car can run faster?….

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  • Verne on Aug 01, 2005 at 11:32 am

    The SR3 is overall a very, very trim derivative of the SGTi. The CF bits help, especially the spoiler. Lighter by 2+ kilos. 135kilos lighter is no joke. Lightening is one way of going faster, just like Lotus does with its cars. Even the rims are 2kilos lighter, per wheel. Less unsprung weight means, a lighter more responsive car overall.

    It will help in braking and powering out of corners. The weight advantage will be less apparent on straight road once on full throttle. though. This cannot beat a lighter car with a big, powerful engine :)

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  • DOG THE WAN on Aug 01, 2005 at 4:30 pm

    The technology is not new, the only problem is the process, where almost impossible to be Mass-pro (High production rate). Too much manpower works or another words it is an art, how can an art be Mass-pro?

    I agreed the material has many advantages but the production volume is the main problem. Only suitable for low volume products. I wish the process will be improved too.

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  • heard that carbon fibre is around half the weight of same quantity of aluminium but a few times of the strength of iron metal….. could it be?

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  • neurra on Aug 04, 2005 at 12:24 am

    was it the acer ferrari 4000, which carbon fibers are used to make the shell of the notebook? yeah it has become a fashion statement.. just look at how ppl look if a car is using a carbon fiber hood.. :drool:

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  • aloo…many of it on the 'bingkai' basikal…bicycle frames laa…not that sold on ur local hypermarket…those Tour De France standard!…meself only carbon on the forks…now those sole that one piece carbon frame..yess..i want one!..

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