GM: Carbon Fiber Not Mass-Marketable. Foliatec: Rock and Roll!

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
gm carbon fiber not mass marketable foliatec rock and roll

We passed on yesterday's story in Automotive News [AN, sub] on the new Corvette ZR1's carbon fiber bits (roof, hood, front splitter, front fenders, side skirts and spoiler) 'cause we had bigger fish to fry. (Even though you've got to wonder about GM's decision to use customers' top 'o the line Corvettes to, as Autoblog put it, "monitor the degradation of C.F. parts over time.") But as TTAC awaits the return of Jonny Lieberman to the editorial fold, we received a press release touting the joys of Loverman's pet peeve : faux fiber. Thanks to a German company named Foliatec (Fool Ya Tech?), Corvette owners suffering from carbon fiber envy can use plastic sheeting to get their freak on. Degradation? What degradation? "Regardless of whether it is on the bonnet or the roof the film is extremely robust, just like the dark high-tech fibre it is named after. It can brave polar colds of up to minus 40 degrees as well as oven temperatures of 120 degree and maintains – with its full adhesive power – its shape at all times. This is also important if it is fitted in the interior of a car, as there are high temperatures in this area in the summer." While Jonny rolls his eyes, a Question of the Day: what part will YOU be carbon fibering?

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  • Skor Skor on Jan 23, 2008

    CF is now commonly used in high end bicycle parts, including frames, forks and crank sets. I believe that the majority of bikes used in the recent Tour de France were CF frames. As far as I know, there have been no catastrophic failures -- the Tour de France racers can hit speeds of 50-60 mph on the downhills.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jan 23, 2008

    To answer the question brought up on this subject in the podcast- yes, CF is more brittle than E glass (traditional fiberglass). However, if you hire one of those guys with a useful degree who is willing to get his hands dirty, work for a living, and yet, not be part of a union (you know, a real engineer), and you then ask him to make it crashworthy, he will use geometry and a mix of composites to make you a practically bullet proof part that is both more flexible and lighter than steel. The jury is still out on cost of repair because while it does become trash in a serious crash, it can be stronger and keep a crash from being so dramatic. You need long term fleet studies that compensate for the cost of repairs that are currently inflated due to lack of skilled workers (its a chicken and egg thing). In aviation we went through this phase and it is now known that a properly made composite plane is stronger and cheaper over time than aluminum. Bird strikes and ground manuever accidents really tell the tale. The only thing comparable is chrome moly frames with aluminum skin which is quite heavy, but really strong. It is true that CF is still really expensive, but from what I understand it's more of a supply and demand thing rather than a cost of ingredients and energy thing. If car makers really want it, they need to build their own fab. Fair Disclosure: I am no expert. What I know is from talking with and working for aircraft manufacturers and from owning a composite aircraft.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Jan 24, 2008

    I want Foliatec muffler bearings

  • SexCpotatoes SexCpotatoes on Jan 24, 2008

    Screw it, what my car is SO missing; Carbon fiber key fob.