Conventional carbon fiber composites utilize thermosetting resins and require much longer time for molding, so currently it is not suited for the production of high-volume vehicle applications, which is also why carbon fiber composites in the past have been limited to use in high-end vehicles.
Where do you see the most potential for composite growth in the automotive sector?
A vehicle’s frame accounts for a significant percentage of its total weight. Lighter frames make it possible to reduce the size and weight of powertrain, suspension and other systems. This weight reduction spiral is expected to contribute to a dramatic improvement in fuel economy and to the reduction of CO2 emissions. This should also help make batteries and motors in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles smaller and lighter. Carbon fiber composites, when used in body structures, facilitate a substantial reduction in vehicle weight and thus offer outstanding growth potential.
How is Teijin involved in these developments?
Teijin is working with automakers to co-develop technologies to reduce vehicle weight, leveraging its innovative carbon fiber composites technology and the world’s second largest carbon fiber production and supply capabilities.