Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New automotive carbon fiber material

A consortium including the University of Tokyo, Toray Industries Inc., and Mitsubishi Rayon Co. ( has developed a new automotive carbon fiber material that is as easy to process as metal.

The developers reckon that it can be made into a wide variety of components, including bodies and engine parts. The consortium will work with Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. to develop technology for mass-producing parts made from the material, which could make cars lighter.

The material, which is made from carbon fiber and a plastic that becomes shapeable with heat, took just two minutes to mold in trials. The developers say automation can reduce the time to one minute—about as long as it takes to mold metal. Parts made from the material can be welded together or reshaped with heat just as if they were made from metal.

Over the next two years, the consortium will experiment with making various types of autoparts from the new material.