BMW Is Preparing A New Series Model Innovation: Carbon Fiber Rims
|   Sunday, March 02, 2014
BMW is preparing a carbon fiber offensive on the automotive industry. The material used on exotic cars now comes with small but certain steps on series models.

BMW already made the first production car with a carbon fiber body, and the Germans are working further on integrating it on conventional vehicles, piece by piece. According to the British from Auto Express, BMW is working on the development of technical solutions to produce large volumes of carbon fiber rims.
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The Germans' plan is to produce only a part of the rim from carbon fiber, the spokes being still made ​​from light alloys, and further down the road to provide rims made ​​entirely of this material.

In contrast with other car manufacturers, BMW already has a joint venture with a company specializing in the production of carbon fiber, located in Washington, SGL Carbon. 

In addition, already they have a plan to find solutions to recycle carbon fiber, a plan signed with those from Boeing. It aims to reduce the total cost of the project and increase its sustainability. All these innovations are to make the technology as accessible as possible to users, and less harmful to the environment. 

At present, the material cannot be recycled. The Americans from Boeing seek a solution to this problem, since the 787 Dreamliner is 55 percent carbon fiber.

The team at BMW has already developed from carbon fiber a cardan shaft and a steering wheel, and achieved a new composite from carbon fiber and plastic, resulting in high strength. It is made ​​from the carbon remnants resulting from the BMW i3 production process.

As regards to the future of carbon fiber rims, which will be a hybrid of carbon fiber and light alloys at first, those from BMW have to convince the European Union legislators that the rims are safe for consumers.

Concerning the mass of these rims, the hybrid solution is 25 percent lighter than forged alloy wheels,​and a 100 percent carbon fiber rim is in turn 10 percent lighter than the hybrid solution.

Carbon fiber has a reputation for being easy and unbelievably powerful. At the same time, this material is not good at bending. Therefore, there were concerns about shattering wheels, or they become damaged to the point where cars would be driving dangerously.

"The carbon fibre wheels are very damage resistant. They're actually more damage resistant to kerb hits than standard alloy wheels because the damage polishes out really easily. You can scratch it when you park and it's better to polish out than aluminum. You can have the metal finish to it with the alloy hybrid, but it's technically a better solution to go all the way and have a full carbon fiber wheel" said BMW lightweight construction manager Franz Storkenmaier.
To prove the material is reliable, BMW has developed a complete and complex dashboard structure, made ​​entirely of new material.

"We have developed an instrument carrier (dash support structure) out of this material and it could replace the magnesium one at a weight saving of about 20 percent. It's even higher for seat frames because they're typically made from heavier metals than magnesium. Carbon fiber is an expensive material to work with, but if you are using production waste then it's a different cost structure from working up raw carbon fiber. It's cheap, and that's how we can position it as a competitor to magnesium."
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