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Reinventing the carbon wheel

Rob

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Reinventing the carbon wheel

Material is very light, but extremely rigid, which enhances grip when turning, braking.
Larry Edsall / Special to The Detroit News


Carbon fiber has become the magic material for automotive applications. Created for aerospace use -- think Stealth fighter -- carbon fiber is light but extremely strong and rigid. It is used for such things as the chassis and bodies of Grand Prix and Indianapolis racecars, brake discs for ultra high-performance sports cars and even hoods and trim for customized road cars. One of the newest applications is for wheels.
British wheel maker Dymag, a pioneer in magnesium wheels, has been making carbon fiber wheels for auto racing, for European sport motorcycles, and recently as original equipment fitments on such extreme performance cars as the Koenigsegg CCX and Mosler MT900.
Rennworx founder Bill Koenig said he approached Dymag about becoming a distributor.
Multi-piece wheels are lighter and stronger than one-piece wheels. In an 18-inch diameter, the carbon/magnesium wheels reduce unsprung weight by more than 70 pounds overall, or 13.23 pounds per corner.
Reducing unsprung weight enhances steering response and suspension performance and lightens the load on the car's powertrain. Because they carry less weight, softer shock absorbers can be used, helping a tire maximize grip in turns or in hard acceleration or braking.
The carbon/mag wheels cost around $8,400 for a set of four in 18-inch diameters, or around $9,400 for a set of 20-inchers.
For more information, visit the www.rennworx.com Web site.
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at ledsall@izoom.com.
 

Mac

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As I understand it, part of the problem of manufacturing with carbon fibre is quality control. It is difficult to get a flawless product and since the structural integrity of the product is affected by flaws, this means flawed products must be scrapped. Since a chemical process is involved, it's not possible to recycle the flawed products so they're scrapped which represents a huge loss in time and material. This is what keeps the prices for c/f products so high.

When they conquer this problem, I expect we'll see more and more product in c/f.

-Mac
 

NORTY

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I was offered CF wheels for my Z06. They wanted $9500 for the set. Now,if the tires were light and the rotors ceramic...
 

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