Luxury automakers turn to carbon composite fibers for nonmetal parts

06/15/2010 | ICIS News (U.K.)

Efforts to build nonmetal cars have led to high-end vehicles that may have nonmetal bodies but metal framing. However, BMW and Daimler are separately working to use carbon composite fibers for structural and interior-body parts. BMW and carbon-parts maker SGL Group formed SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers to build fibers for BMW's electric Megacity Vehicle, and Daimler is in a joint-development agreement with Toray Industries for vehicle components from carbon-reinforced plastics. The American Chemistry Council says the use of lightweight plastics in U.S. vehicles went from 60 pounds per vehicle four decades ago to about 330 pounds in 2007. "More than 50% of a typical vehicle's volume is composed of plastics and polymer composites, but these materials only account for approximately 10% of total vehicle weight," said Keith Christman, ACC's managing director for plastics.

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