Trusted Strength: BST Carbon Fiber Wheels
What is Trusted Strength?
Everyone knows that carbon fiber wheels look great, but did you know some of the most technologically advanced machines in the world are constructed with it? Beauty, Reliability, and Strength all come from carbon fiber composite materials. Read on to see how it is being utilized in the most demanding applications.
Number 4: Formula 1 Race Car
Did You Know?
Formula 1 cars are among the fastest circuit-racing cars in the world, due to very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downforce. Modern Formula 1 cars are mid-engined, open cockpit, open wheel single-seaters. The chassis is made largely of carbon-fiber composites, rendering it light but extremely stiff and strong. The whole car, including engine, fluids and driver, weighs only 1411 lb. (640 kg), the minimum weight set by regulations. Engines must be no more than 2.4-liter naturally aspirated V8s, with many other constraints on their design and the materials that may be used. Engines run on unleaded fuel closely resembling publicly available petrol. The oil which lubricates and protects the engine from overheating is very similar in viscosity to water.
Formula 1 cars race at speeds of up to 220 mph (350 km/h) with engines limited in performance to a maximum of 18,000 RPM (revolutions per minute.) Revving to 18,000 RPM, a modern Formula 1 engine will consume a phenomenal 450 liters of air every second, with race fuel consumption typically around the 4 mpg mark. Revving at such massive speeds equates to an accelerative force on the pistons of more than 8,000 times gravity. The highest straight line speed recorded during a Grand Prix event was 229.8 mph (369.9 km/h), set by Antônio Pizzonia during the 2004 Italian Grand Prix. A downforce of 2.5 times the car's weight can be achieved at full speed. The downforce means that the cars can achieve a lateral force with a magnitude of up to 3.5 times that of the force of gravity (3.5g) in cornering. Such high lateral forces are enough to make breathing difficult and the drivers need supreme concentration and fitness to maintain their focus for the one to two hours that it takes to complete the race. A high-performance road car like the Ferrari Enzo only achieves around 1g.
Two elements are crucial for the designers in the development of a new Formula 1 car: speed and safety. The engine, aerodynamics and tires look after the speed, while the monocoque guarantees the safety of the driver in extreme situations. This carbon fiber safety cell is virtually indestructible and plays a key role in the safety of Formula 1. The monocoques are made from carbon fiber, a composite material that is twice as strong as steel, but five times lighter. It consists of up to 12 layers of carbon fiber mats, in which each of the individual threads is five times thinner than a human hair. A honeycomb-shaped aluminum layer is inserted between these mats, which increases the rigidity of the monocoque even more. The whole shell is then heated under pressure in the autoclave, a giant oven. After two and a half hours, the shell is hardened, but still the baking procedure is repeated twice more. As a result, the monocoques are strong enough to protect the drivers even in the most serious of accidents, like the one involving Giancarlo Fisichella at Silverstone in 1997. The evaluation of the black box showed that his car slowed from 141 mph (227km/h) to zero in just 0.72 seconds, which corresponds mathematically to a fall from a height of 656ft (200 meters.) Even so, the Italian only suffered a minor injury to his knee.
- Approximately 80,000 components come together to make an F1 car. The cars have to be assembled with 100% accuracy. If it were assembled 99.9% correctly, it would go on the track with 80 components wrongly placed.
- Formula 1 brake discs are made from a special, indestructible form of carbon fiber. A set costs several thousand dollars and takes a month to make. When a driver hits the brake pedal, the discs heat up to around 1,200 centigrade – typically the temperature of molten lava.
- An F1 car can accelerate from 0 to 100 mph and decelerate back to 0 in just four seconds.
- The cars can be refueled at 12 liters per second. The rig used would take just 4 seconds to fill the tank of an average road car. Some pit stop crews take only 3 seconds to refuel and change tires.
- F1 car engines complete their life in about two hours of racing. Just compare this with normal engines which go on serving us faithfully for decent 20 years.
- Before the Monaco Grand Prix, the manhole covers on this street circuit are welded down - the downforce created by an F1 car has enough suction to rip them off.
Number 3: Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Did You Know?
The 787 is a long-range, mid-sized, twin-engine aircraft. The longest range variant can fly between 8,000 and 8,500 nautical miles, and will have a cruising airspeed of Mach 0.85.
The 787 Dreamliner is built with 50% carbon fiber. Each 787 contains approximately 23 tons of carbon fiber. Composites are used on the fuselage, wings, turbines, tail, doors, and interior of the Dreamliner. Composite materials have many advantages. They allow a lighter, simpler structure, which increases airplane efficiency, reduces fuel consumption and reduces weight-based maintenance and fees. They do not fatigue or corrode, which reduces scheduled maintenance and increases productive time.
The 787 Dreamliner applies breakthrough technologies to an all-new airplane design. The advanced features of the 787 increase efficiency, simplify airplane ownership and operation, and significantly improve the air travel experience today and for many years to come.
- The 787's flight software has 14 million lines of code to control the fly-by-wire system. This way, pilots won’t have to provide input to account for wind gusts or low frequency turbulence
- The 787 Dreamliner was built with only 10,000 holes drilled, compared to the 1,000,000 holes drilled for the Boeing 777
- The force on a fan blade at take-off is about 100 tons. That is like hanging a freight train off each blade
- The 787’s engine is expected to fly for 20,000 hours before its first overhaul. That’s about 11 million miles or 450 times around the world
- The 787’s price tag is $146 million - $200 million per plane
Number 2: Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4
Did You Know?
The Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 has already achieved legendary status in the first year it has been released. Built and assembled in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy. The Aventador was designed to replace the ten-year-old Murcielago as the new flagship model in the Lamborghini lineup for 2011.
The Aventador has a newly reconstructed 6.5-liter V12 engine with an AWD layout that produces an astonishing 700 HP at 8,250 rpm and 509 lb-ft at 5,500 rpm. Capable of 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, while blasting off with an official top speed of 217 mph; theoretically capable of speeds in excess of 230 mph.
Modeled after Formula 1 racecars, the Aventador’s passenger cell is made entirely from carbon fiber, weighing in at 325 lbs for a total curb weight of 3,472 lbs. The “single shell” or monocoque functions physically as one component, thus taking full advantage of the extreme rigidity of carbon fiber. Formula 1 racecars have been built using carbon fiber monocoques for many years – and have proven their crash worthiness time and again. The same applies to road-going sports cars featuring monocoque technology – the carbon fiber occupant cell functions like an extremely safe roll cage. The Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 represents a whole new level of performance and safety, while setting new benchmarks in the super sports car segment.
- Recording the third fastest time around the Top Gear track with a time of 1.16.5, beating the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, among many others
- Top Gear also announced that it chose the Aventador as the car of the year for 2011
- Although being single-clutch, gearshifts are accomplished in 50 milliseconds, its transmission, a single-clutch 7-speed semi-automatic, is built by Graziano Trasmissioni
- The Aventador name was chosen for its symbolic connection to the world of fighting bulls, sharing a name with the legendary Aventador, a trophy-winning bull in the world of Spanish bullfighting
- The suggested retail price is €255,000 in Europe, £201,900 in the UK and $379,700 in the U.S.
Number 1: Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
Did You Know?
The production of the F-22 model was unveiled on April 9, 1997 at Lockheed Martin in Marietta, Georgia. It first flew on September 7, 1997. The first production F-22 was delivered to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, on January 7, 2003. In 2006, the Raptor's development team, composed of Lockheed Martin and over 1,000 other companies, plus the United States Air Force, won the Collier Trophy, American aviation's most prestigious award. In 2006, the USAF sought to acquire 381 F-22s, to be divided among seven active duty combat squadrons and three integrated Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard squadrons.
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation super-maneuverable fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology. It was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities that include ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the prime contractor and is responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems and final assembly of the F-22. Program partner Boeing Defense, Space & Security provides the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems. The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is capable of speeds up to Mach 1.6 or 1,200 mph, and has as over 350 carbon fiber parts; making the jet over 30% carbon composite material. The same composite materials are used by BlackStone Tek in the construction of their carbon fiber wheels.
Despite a protracted and costly development period, the United States Air Force considers the F-22 a critical component of US tactical air power, and claims that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter, while Lockheed Martin claims that the Raptor's combination of stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness, combined with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, makes it the best overall fighter in the world today. Former Chief of the Austrailian Defense Force, said in 2004 that "The F-22 will be the most outstanding fighter plane ever built."
- Each aircraft costs the United States $143 million to build
- The aircraft is built at a rate of 2 units per month
- Each aircraft required 1,000 subcontractors and suppliers, and 95,000 workers
- The F-22 requires up to 20 hours of maintenance per day to detect and prevent any possible issues
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