Posted by Anthony CarboneOctober 1, 2008 at 10:15 pm
A Japanese company Weds Sport has manufactured the first full carbon fiber wheel. This carbon fiber wheel was manufactured using a Dry Carbon Fiber technique and was unveiled at this years Tokyo Auto Salon show.
The weight of one wheel is 2.76kg (6.08 lbs)!
There are 2 ways to create a carbon fiber laminate: “wet” layup and pre-impregnated “dry” layup.
“Wet” carbon fiber layup process has been used since the ice age for creating molded shapes from carbon fiber or other engineered polymers. It is the easiest and least labor intensive method and has even made its way into the do-it-yourself areas of self indulgent creations.
The main disadvantage of the “wet” laminate is the lack of resin control.
“Dry” carbon fibers are placed into a mold and resin is poured and brushed over the cloth. Layer upon layer are manually added until the desired resin coating thickness is met. This method of resin impregnation is somewhat uncontrolled which can result in to heavy of resin to fiber ratio creating additional voids and decreased mechanical properties.
The pre-impregnated (pre-preg) “Dry” carbon fiber method developed and mastered during the past 10 years has created a stiffer, stronger laminate with controlled and predictably desirable results.
In this pre-pre carbon fiber construction method the fiber is pre-impregnated with resin at a production facility, rolled on spools, and frozen to prevent the resin from curing prematurely. This raw material is then cut and hand laid into a mold to the proper thickness and cured via vacuum packing and high temperature curing which melts the glass resin which flows and hardens in the shape of the parent mold.
Need a refresher into the Science of Carbon Fiber? Checkout my earlier post on the subject: Carbon Fiber Wheels – Not the Ultimate Performance Material
Isn’t science bad ass?