Rolls Royce is the latest automotive company to incorporate forged carbon fibre into its products. The luxury car manufacturer has developed body parts and wheels using short strands of carbon fibre that are pressed into shape, providing an alternative to titanium or woven carbon fibre for lightweight parts.
Carbon fibres are commonly woven into a textile – using a basic twill structure – which is draped over a mould and set into position using clear resin. The resulting surfaces have become synonymous with luxury and performance across the design sector. Forged carbon fibre, however, is made of short strands of the material that are compressed into a mould. The random orientation of the strands produces an irregular surface pattern that could be likened to natural black granite.
The benefits of choosing short-strand pressed carbon fibre over woven mats include increased intricacy of forms and reduced production time. However, the strength and structural integrity of components is lessened.
As reported on BMW Blog: “Lighter and denser than titanium, forged carbon fibre wheels offer a clear engineering advantage over their metal alloy counterparts. Forged wheels are also a marked improvement in manufacturing lead-time compared to traditional carbon fibre layup.”
In the past, the uniform, sleek aesthetic of woven carbon fibre has been favoured, but this could be set to change as luxury car manufacturers such as Rolls Royce (and previously Lamborghini) begin adopting the finish.
See our recent CMF Industry View on the Automotive sector for further design inspiration.