A new way of creating carbon fibers—which are typically expensive to make—could one day lead to using these lightweight, high-strength materials to improve safety and reduce the cost of producing cars, according to a team of researchers. Using a mix of computer simulations and laboratory experiments, the team found that adding small amounts of the 2-D graphene to the production process both reduces the production cost and strengthens the fibers.
For decades, carbon fibers have been a mainstay of airplane production. If created in the right way, these long strands of carbon-based atoms, narrower than human hair, are lightweight, stiff and strong—a perfect application for keeping passengers safe in a vehicle soaring miles above the ground.
"Even though carbon fibers have really nice features, they would make a car far more expensive" with the way carbon fibers are manufactured now, said Adri van Duin, professor of mechanical and chemical engineering, Penn State. "If you can get these properties easier to manufacture then you can make cars significantly lighter, lower the cost of them and make them safer."To read more, click here.