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Carbon Fiber Duratec Block

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  • Carbon Fiber Duratec Block

    This, taken from another racing chat room:

    Composite Castings LLC (Palm Beach, Fla., USA) has developed a new, lightweight, carbon fiber composite, four-cylinder engine block. This engine block design was developed by Matti Holtzberg, president and founder of Composite Castings.
    Toho Tenax America’s Tenax brand carbon fiber was chosen as the reinforcement for the base epoxy resin. The resulting high-performance compound is molded into the finished engine block profile using Composite Castings' proprietary molding process (patented and patent pending) that uses low-cost tooling and provides for faster cycle times compared to conventional carbon fiber composite molding methods.
    The new engine blocks are 45 to 50 percent lighter in weight than a comparable aluminum block. The weight saving is a significant competitive advantage in the performance engine business and is expected to attract interest from the worldwide automotive industry where weight is so critical, particularly in hybrid cars.
    A composite block is cast to a net shape, which eliminates secondary machining; significantly reduces NVH due to the relationship between fiber and resin; does not corrode; and represents a large reduction in carbon footprint because there is no metal to melt. Also, in comparison to die casting, the tool cost is 50 percent less and the tool life is five to 10 times greater. The first block that Composite Castings is casting for the performance engine market is an after-market specialty engine, which can be an alternate to the popular Ford Duratec/Mazda MZR inline 4. The carbon fiber composite block weighs 20 lb/9.1 kg less than the stock alloy block. Looking further forward, an entire range of four- and eight-cylinder engine blocks is planned for motorsports as well as OEM automotive, truck and marine applications.

  • #2
    Oh dear. I worked in the composites department at a German university for a few years and back then in the 80s everybody believed you could make anything out of this miracle carbon fiber stuff. Accordingly we built springs, special machine parts, submarine propshafts and tried even pistons selling this to gullible government agencies and companies to fund the real interesting research.

    As long as you use mostly unidrectional fibers in well defined stress situations (like for many aircraft parts or maybe even a propshaft) the CF is excellent. But making the above mentioned piston or heaven forbid an engine block is pretty stupid. You can not apply fibers in their preferred direction and the engine heat makes the epoxy matrix very soft. The heat transfer across the fibers is horrible and will create hot spots, making the softening even worse. Given the curing shrink it should be impossible to mold anything to the tigh spec dimensions an engine needs.

    I suspect somebody is fishing for venture capital here.
    Last edited by slomove; July 12, 2011, 07:43 PM.

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    • #3
      Agreed. They also don't address the fact that, other than nickel or titanium, most any metal in contact with the c/f will suffer from galvanic corrosion. It would be difficult to electrically isolate every metal component in/on an engine from the block.
      | | Sean

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      • #4
        Yeah, whoever is floating this idea isn't taking the hot and wet properties of the expoxy into account.
        EscondidoRon

        '62 Lotus Seven
        '84 Turbo Esprit (x2)
        '14 Evora
        '77 Esprit S1 (RIP) :(

        "A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom." -Michel De Montaigne 1588

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        • #5
          Originally posted by slomove View Post
          I suspect somebody is fishing for venture capital here.
          Really?

          More here

          Edit: Please note that this thread was started by a downforce race car guy. Those fellas know that all it takes to win is to spend more money. At $2500.00 / pound saved (say, oh, about $50,000 in this case) this engine block will certainly make someone a winner.

          So, Michael, do you want to, or shall I call Stokes? :D

          Hmmm, I wonder if I can get one of his 'proofs'...
          Last edited by moosetestbestanden; July 18, 2011, 09:15 AM.
          Chris
          ------------
          A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

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          • #6
            Originally posted by moosetestbestanden View Post
            Really?

            More here

            Hmmm, I wonder if I can get one of his 'proofs'...
            Once again, oh dear.....that is the same bullshit we sold 25 years ago. Short fiber reinforced resin gets a fraction of the strength of aluminum. I would believe you can make an engine run but the mechanical and thermal stresses of a performance engine under load will probably disintegrate it in no time.

            If i see such an engine do a respectable track run of an hour I may change my opinion

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            • #7
              Well, I read this part...

              "According to Holtzberg, his mold is a six-piece aluminum jigsaw puzzle consisting of a base plate, four side panels, and a top cover. A removable core, which forms the water jacket, oil drains, and main oil galley, fits inside. During assembly, the mold also is loaded with various aluminum parts: 71 threaded inserts and five main bearing saddles. After casting, four Siamesed cylinders are placed in the water jacket."

              and wondered just how much "strength" is required to hold all that stuff together? While I'm no engineer w/ decades of experience I wondered if maybe the main idea (& problem) here is putting in place and holding all that shit together during the fabrication process, as well as the impact of the expansion & contraction induced by thermal loading. The market here isn't 1 grillion mile guaranteed cheap shit Hundai truck motors, it's racing engines whose life span is calculated in mere hours, not 10s of thousands of hours.

              [Parable time....]

              Once upon a time, gypsum wall board started to supplant gypsum plaster over expanded metal lath as an interior finish material, for lots of good reasons, all of which were associated w/ money. A problem arose w/ its ability to resist the temperatures that buildings generate when they burn. Fire ratings (tested) had to be maintained and a new material's properties proven before the Gods of Building Officials would certify the use of that material for fire-rated construction. The potential of so much wealth so visualized, along came a researcher who discovered that mixing a particular type of fiber (many many were tested, for years) w/ the gypsum soup fixed the problem of cracking that existed when straight gyp. bd. was exposed to high temperatures. Hey presto, Type 'X' gyp. bd. was born, and fortunes were made.

              [end parable]

              Maybe this guy has done the math, or the tests, or both. Maybe not. Maybe he's just selling bullshit like German Universities tried to (unsuccessfully it seems) decades ago. Or maybe enough things have changed over the decades that he's been thinking about and working on the thing. Things that make the supposedly once-impossible possible, at a price of course. Or maybe he's found something that German Universities missed, if that is possible. The multi-billion dollar Japanese company that is including his shit on their website seem to be somewhat convinced, at least enough to partner w/ the dude.

              Under any circumstances, good on him sez I, not only for keeping his hand in it for 40 years but also for keeping an open mind at such an advanced age. :D

              If it works and I win the lottery I want one. Barring the latter, I'll take the one that Stokes bought, after he's broken it! :D
              Last edited by moosetestbestanden; July 18, 2011, 07:00 PM.
              Chris
              ------------
              A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted

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              • #8
                This seems like perfect timing to resuscitate the Stokes/Sours engine escapades!

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