Nissan tech breakthrough means your daily will be more supercar than ever before
Could your future Ford Focus take a Lamborghini at the lights?
In today's world, the direct correlation seen between a cars performance capabilities and the weight it carries is more important, and noticeable, than ever before. It's all fair and well slotting a big fat engine that produces a trillion horsepower under the bonnet, but is that what defines performance these days? I wouldn't say so.
This is why lightweight, Sci-Fi-esque materials like carbon fibre are becoming a staple in sports cars, super cars and hyper cars alike in the 21st century. Along with presenting an incredible building block upon which to create a super fast car, lining a cars internal shell with carbon fibre also makes it remarkably strong, thus, offering a superb layer of protection for its occupants in the event of an accident. On top of all of that, it also helps to improve fuel efficiency dramatically - it really is a win-win element.
The only drawback, and one which has limited the usage of carbon fibre in mainstream, mass-produced cars, is the price. According to HowStuffWorks, building a full skeletal frame for a car with carbon fibre costs, at the very least, $100,000 - that's even before other aspects of the car become involved. Whilst measures are being taken to try and reduce the costs of using it, the task is proving a difficult one.
However, this may all be about to change. It seems that the process of how carbon fibre will be moulded into cars of the future has been evolved by an unlikely source. What's more, they claim that they've found a way to incorporate the fabled material into cars that are used on a day-to-day basis - that company is Nissan.
The technique they've conjured up, called 'compression resin transfer bolding', involves sculpting the raw carbon fibre into the required shape before covering it in a die, which has a small gap located at the top. This is the most crucial part of the process, because this gap acts as a gateway between the upper part of the die and the carbon fibre, and through this gap, resin is then injected in and left to harden around the carbon.
Nissan also claim to have come up with a new process of simulating the permeability of the resin that's been placed along the raw carbon fibre, whilst also being able to see the way the resin flows onto the carbon by using an in-die temperature gauge, coupled with a pellucid die. This also means that the total production time for the carbon fibre panels will be shortened tenfold.
The company are still keeping their intentions for how and when they'll use the technique under wraps, but we can speculate that they'll use forthcoming sports cars, such as the 400Z, as a means of testing their breakthrough. If this ends up working, which it likely will because the Japanese are impeccable at everything they do, most manufacturers will ultimately adopt the same technique in their factories. This may just be a pivotal turning point in the future of mass-produced cars.