Why should only supercars get all the tech attention?
As many of you are likely aware, carbon fiber is an advanced lightweight material found in airplane, rocket, and sports car and supercar construction. In other words, it's typically reserved only for the most expensive toys. Nissan, however, no longer believes that notion. That's why it has developed a new production process with one goal: to bring carbon fiber to more mass-market cars.
The Japanese automaker claims its new process is capable of cutting the lead time to develop carbon fiber vehicle components by as much as half. The production of carbon fiber is known as compression resin transfer molding. Its new method involves forming carbon fiber into the right shape and then setting it in a die with a slight gap between the upper die and the carbon fibers. Next, resin is injected into the fiber and left to harden.
Nissan also says it has developed techniques to simulate the permeability of the resin carbon fiber, while also visualizing resin flow behavior in a die using an in-die temperature sensor and a transport die. Okay, so what does this all mean?
Well, the process results in a successful simulation of the construction of a high-quality component with a shorter development time. The advantages of carbon fiber in place of metal alloys and even some plastics are vast. Aside from its lightweight character, carbon fiber is incredibly strong. Vehicles can become both safer and lighter. With less weight, of course, fuel efficiency also greatly improves.
At present, high-end models like the Nissan GT-R benefit from carbon fiber elements, but niche models don't bring home the bacon. This new carbon fiber construction process will allow Nissan to do things faster, better, and cheaper.
Don't be surprised to see next-generation mainstream models like the best-selling Nissan Rogue and popular Altima sedan benefit. Also, the automaker continues to expand its all-electric vehicle lineup with the Nissan Ariya. Due to their heavy battery packs, EVs need all the help they can get to shed the poundage.