The team behind the potent Elemental RP1 have made their track car even more advanced thanks to the use of new carbon fiber technology.
Dubbed Tailored Fibre Placement and developed by German machine manufacturer ZSK, the system is based upon techniques used in the embroidery industry.
Traditionally, carbon fiber parts are made through a complex process of hand-laying, but because humans are prone to making errors, the fibers of different carbon layers are not always lined up precisely and ultimately are not as strong as they should be. This means that additional layers are needed for the carbon to be as strong as it would be if the fibers were lined up perfectly.
Tailored Fibre Placement aims to rectify this issue by laying down the carbon fiber threads onto a substrate to make a 2-dimensional preform in a ‘net shape’. The layers are then gradually built up by hand to avoid errors.
Not only does this result in a stronger carbon fiber part, it also makes the part better at withstanding impacts such as extensive stone chips as well. Additionally, complex curves can be formed without compromising the carbon fiber’s strength.
“We found it created pre-forms very quickly, is cost effective, and very durable. The resulting structural rear bodywork on the Elemental RP1 is tough enough to withstand impacts such as extensive stone chips and has a complex 3D shape with compound curves. This is at odds with the traditional qualities of carbon fibre components,” Elemental’s composites manager Peter Kent said.
Elemental hasn’t announced yet when it will start deliveries of RP1s manufactured through this new carbon fiber production process.