Carbon fibre is the material of choice in many of the upper echelon super cars, thanks to its ability to maintain structural integrity while being very lightweight. However, it’s complexity in construction means it costs a lot to manufacture, never mind the cost of the material itself, thus its usage is still limited to only the most advanced sportscars.
Nissan though, claimed to have found a breakthrough in the production of carbon fibre parts – or more accurately carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) – where it claims that it is able to cut the lead time to develop such components by as much as half, and cycle time for moulding by about 80%.
With the use of computer aided engineering (CAE), Nissan engineers were able to simulate the permeability of the resin in carbon fibre, visualising the resin flow behaviour in a die. Grooves are then added accurately to certain parts of the mould within the stamping process, helping the resin flow across the entire CFRP part faster and more evenly.
Additionally, the resin is also injected into the mould when the stamp is held partially open, reducing the time it takes for the resin to spread across the entire mould, thus reducing the cycle time for the entire compression resin transfer moulding process.
As a result, Nissan says that the overall cost of manufacturing for these CFRP parts can be brought down, significantly enough to be used in mass-production vehicles.
The company says that it plans to use CFRP as a structural component in its future line-up production models such as the B-pillars to bring down overall weight, as well as lowering the centre of gravity, which means safer cars with better fuel efficiency and handling potential.