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2015-10-21  download as PDF Download this press release in Adbobe Acrobat format | download as DOC Download this press release in Microsoft Word format
Carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs) will help car producers to make dramatic reductions in fuel consumption

Carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs) will help car producers to make dramatic reductions in fuel consumption

The mass adoption of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs) in vehicle production is edging closer as car makers search for ways of reducing fuel consumption, according to a report in the latest issue of Technical Textile Markets from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.

CFRPs have a number of properties in their favour. They have high strength and durability and -- most significantly as far as the automotive industry is concerned -- they are 50% lighter than steel.

Consequently, using body parts made from CFRPs in place of steel body parts could result in significant weight reduction and dramatically lower fuel consumption. And the need for such reductions is becoming more urgent as a result of legislation in Europe and the USA relating to fuel efficiency.

A key stumbling block to the wider adoption of CFRPs by the automotive industry has been price. But capacity increases are being planned and, assuming that prices can be reduced as these increased capacities become available, the potential of CFRPs as replacements for steel vehicle body parts alone is considerable. Another stumbling block has been the cycle time required for moulding car frame composites, but much research and development work has been done in reducing the cycle time and this has also helped to reduce costs.

More and more alliances have been formed in recent years between automotive companies and carbon fibre suppliers -- including those between BMW and SGL Group, General Motors and Toho Tenax, Daimler and Toray Industries, Jaguar Land Rover and Cytec, and Ford, DowAksa and IACMI.

BMW has, without doubt, been the pioneer in the transfer of CFRPs to vehicles for the mass market. BMW began volume production of CFRP components for a few limited applications as early as 2003, and has been increasing its output ever since. In 2009 BMW and SGL Group formed a joint venture, called SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (ACF), in order to combine their core competencies and industrialise the use of carbon fibres in the automotive sector.

However, Teijin reported in May 2011 that it had succeeded in establishing new mass production technologies for making CFRPs and in reducing the cycle time required for moulding car frame composites to less than one minute. In doing so, it overcame one of the biggest challenges in the industry, and its success represented a significant move forward in the use of CFRPs for the mass production of vehicles.

In another alliance, Daimler has been working with Toray on optimising the processes used in the manufacture of CFRPs in order to reduce cycle times and hence reduce costs significantly.

These alliances are poised to increase the adoption of carbon fibre in the next generation of consumer vehicles sharply. Furthermore, the potential market for CFRPs in these applications is huge. Even if only 100 kg of these materials were employed in each car, global demand for CFRPs for the automotive industry could amount to 10 million tons a year. In fact, if usage did reach 10 million tons, this would represent an increase of 17,141% on the estimated 58,000 tons of CFRPs which were used in vehicles in 2014.

"Automotive composites based on carbon fibre technical textiles: who will be the next to make the commitment after BMW?" was published by the global business information company Textiles Intelligence in issue No 101 of Technical Textile Markets.

Other reports published in the same issue include: "Product developments and innovations"; "Leading manufacturers of nonwoven filter media and their key customers"; "Personal protective clothing: providing performance, safety and comfort"; "Global technical textiles business update"; and "Statistics: trends in global and regional man-made fibre production".

Technical Textile Markets is published four times a year by Textiles Intelligence. Each issue provides an independent and worldwide perspective on the global technical textiles industry.

A year's printed subscription to Technical Textile Markets costs 1,115 (UK), Euro1,970 (Europe, Middle East or Africa) or US$2,585 (Americas or Asia Pacific). An electronic supplement is also available. Single issues, individual reports and multi-report packages are available on request.

For further information, please contact Belinda Carp at Textiles Intelligence, Alderley House, Wilmslow, SK9 1AT, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1625 536136; Fax: +44 (0)1625 536137; Email: info@textilesintelligence.com

For press copies and editorial enquiries, please contact Robin Anson at Textiles Intelligence. Tel: +44 (0)1625 536136. Fax: +44 (0)1625 536137. Email: editorial@textilesintelligence.com