Archive for December 18th, 2012
While “put the pedal to the metal” has a nice ring to it, increasingly, when we drive – or fly – there is a rapidly decreasing amount of actual metal involved. If you have flown on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you have flown on a plane made of 50 percent carbon fiber. If you have driven a Ford GT, you have also rolled some carbon fiber down the highway.
Carbon fiber isn’t a new material – Thomas Edison actually tinkered with it as a filament for a light bulb – but in an era of rising fuel costs and carbon footprint awareness, it’s getting more attention as a building material for anything that could stand to be a bit lighter. The properties of carbon fiber and its composites – high tensile strength, chemical and heat resistance, low thermal expansion and rigidity – make the material ideal for aerospace and automotive uses. Aircraft or automobiles produced with a high percentage of carbon fiber is both durable and fuel efficient.
Unfortunately, it’s not cheap. Read the rest of this entry »