1. The Formula 1 car - From steel through magnesium and aluminium to carbon fibre, Formula 1 is at the cutting edge of engineering. From the early ‘80’s Lotus and MacLaren started using carbon fibre monocoques because of the increased rigidity and increased driver safety. Today all manufacturers have followed suit and the Red Bull RB9, winner of the 2013 constructors championship, is a prime example. With a carbon composite monocoque, carbon wishbone suspension and carbon discs in the braking system, the design is full of it.
2. The jet airliner - Both Boeing and Airbus have now moved to carbon fibre for their flagship long-range aircraft. The Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ and Airbus A350 XWB both use around 50% composite components to save on weight, thus slicing swathes off the running costs. Together with this, they take advantage of the smooth and aerodynamic properties of carbon fibre to replace tonnes of aluminium on the wings and fuselage.
3. The bicycle - If you want a lightweight, aerodynamic push-bike with excellent rigidity and stability, carbon fibre is the material for you. There are now many manufacturers providing carbon fibre options as they are understood to promote excellent performance. The Black Braid from Braid Bikes in Germany is one such example. Black Braid is an excellent illustration of the weight saving, rigidity and aesthetics provided by carbon fibre at the peak of the urban bicycles industry. Check out the single rear fork, using the strength and stiffness of a carbon fibre monocoque to cut down the amount of body work required.
4. The wheelchair - Carbon Black uses more carbon fibre than any other wheelchair. The monocoque design built in carbon fibre uses the same premise that gives the RB9’s body its rigidity, whilst providing the strength and flexibility exhibited by the suspension wishbones maintaining the ride quality. Like the Black Braid, Carbon Black uses a mono-stem design to cut out the need for two front tubes, allowing it closer access for transfers. Coupled with these benefits, Carbon Black uses the smooth and aerodynamic finish of carbon fibre, like the Dreamliner, to provide a great looking, seamless form.
What other products are at their best using carbon fibre?