Bugatti has always known to be a pioneer in new technical developments and innovations in the world of extreme performance. Just when you thought the Veyron will be as powerful as road going cars will ever be, they introduced the Chiron with 1,500 hp and 1,500 Nm of torque.
But as the saying goes “With great power comes great responsibilities” and Bugatti’s greatest responsibility is to bring the car to a complete halt safely and effectively. Which brings us to their latest creation, the world’s first titanium brake caliper to be produced by a 3D printer.
The newly developed brake caliper is made up of a titanium alloy with the scientific designation Ti6AI4V, mainly used in the aerospace industry for high-stress undercarriage and wing components in aircrafts and rocket engines. The caliper now weights only 2.9 kg, 40 percent lighter than the aluminium component currently used (4.9 kg), measuring at 41 cm long, 21 cm wide and 13.6 cm high.
This approach was extremely difficult before due to the inherent high rigidity of a titanium block but thanks to 3D printing technology, it opens up the possibilities of forging complex structures which are significantly stronger. Despite it being a 3D printed part, the brake caliper has a tensile strength of 1,250 N/mm2 which translates to more than 125 kg of force can be applied to a square millimetre of this titanium alloy before rupturing.
In the printing process, titanium powder is deposited layer by layer, four lasers melt the powdered material into the brake calliper’s shape. It takes a total of 2,213 layers and 45 hours to complete a single brake calliper. The result is a pair of eight-piston front calipers and six-piston rear callipers for the Bugatti Chiron.
First trials of these titanium brake calipers on production vehicles are due to be held in the first half of 2018. By then, the engineers promise shorter production times to keep up with production schedules.