The new material in BMW i3’s body: CFRP

According to its homepage, one of the characteristics of BMW i3 is CFRP.

The BMW i3 The Life-module primarily consists of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, in short: CFRP. The creation of this innovative material takes place in the joint venture. SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers (SGL ACF) CF in the American Moses Lake and the Wackersdorf Innovation Park established it.

The carbon fiber composite components are joined together to the basic structure of the Life-module. Due to the high geometric integration the BMW i3 Life-module needs only one third of the components in comparison with a conventional steel body – 150 CFRP components.

In CFRP body an exclusively modern, BMW uses100 percent automated bonding technique instead of screws, rivets and welding. The company assembles the individual components to contactless up to a precisely defined adhesive gap in the unique, joining process developed by BMW. This guarantees the optimum strength to the bond.

100 percent CO2-free production process

Based on the page, BMW can produce the carbon fiber in the following way.

BMW produce the carbon fiber from a thermoplastic textile fibers made from polyacrylonitrile. This is to be split into a complex process until only an seven microns thin fiber consisting of pure hydrocarbons remains. A human hair measures about 50 microns in comparison.

Subsequently, approximately 50,000 of these individual filaments to so-called “roving”, ie combined and wound fiber bundles. BMW uses the energy exclusively from locally available renewable hydropower. Therefore, it is 00 percent CO2-free.

Who is BMW?

According to its official homepage, we can see the company profile of BMW in the following way.

The special fascination of the BMW Group not only lies in its products and technology, but also in the company’s history, written by inventors, pioneers and brilliant designers. Today, the BMW Group, with its 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries as well as a global sales network, is the world’s leading manufacturer of premium automobiles and motorcycles, and provider of premium financial and mobility services.

CFRP will be popular in the future?

Some advantages in CFRP are its light weight and increased strength. The weight reduction is one of the biggest issues in manufacturing. This is because materials’ weight itself leads to their energy.

Let us remind the famous, Einstein’s idea, “Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared”. Therefore, if some products can become less weight, they need less energy to move. For example, if an automobile can reduce its weight, it can accelerate easier and better.

However, the safety of automobile is also essential at the same time. This is because cars affect their passengers’ as well as pedestrians’ life. In this sense, the characteristics in CFRP can be a good solution. However, its cost is still expensive and we do lots of Research and Development for its mass production.

To tackle climate change, many countries give incentive us to purchase electric vehicles. It means that the EV market is growing faster and bigger. There is more opportunity for high-end products. The higher the new EV’s price will be, the more chance automobile manufacturer can use CFRP. When it comes to high-end product, Volvo made a decision go full-electric by 2030. This is a good example why high-end automotive will be more EVs. Thus, CFRP-used EVs will be more available, too.