For the last century or so, cars and trucks have predominantly been formed from one material in particular: steel. It’s not hard to see why – steel is relatively inexpensive, highly abundant and easy to form into somewhat complex shapes that can be repaired with mostly basic tools.
Recently, though, we’ve seen an uptick in the amounts of alternative materials used in the automotive industry. The most popular material next to steel would be aluminum, which is lightweight and can be made plenty strong enough for use in our vehicles. On the other hand, it takes a lot more energy to produce and is not as easy to work with as steel. What other alternatives are there?
Carbon fiber. You’ve surely heard of this wonder material, which has certainly made a recognizable appearance on the automotive scene over the last few years. Carbon fiber is light, strong and can be molded into all kinds of interesting shapes. Plus, it looks really cool… but it’s not all lollipops and rainbows. Click past the jump to read more about carbon fiber’s many promises, and its pitfalls.
Greenlings: What are the promises and pitfalls of carbon fiber? originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Thu, 03 Sep 2009 19:47:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.