CFRP Leaf Springs for Railcars
No, this is not a concept vehicle. Rather, it is the efWING railcar truck with a leaf spring arrangement engineered with a carbon fiber reinforced plastic that was developed by Toho Tenax (tohotenax.com), part of the Teijin Group’s carbon fiber and composites business, for Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which makes railcars. Ordinarily, railcar trucks use steel side frames and independent coil springs. In the efWING approach, there is a weight reduction of approximately 1,980 lb. per railcar, which results in fuel efficiency for and reduced emissions from the locomotive. While Kawasaki has been using this leaf spring for a few years, the two companies are now working toward developing a totally integrated system—from the carbon fiber yarn all the way to the finished leaf springs—so that they will be able to mass-produce the components.
Honda is an engine company.
How carbon fiber is utilized is as different as the vehicles on which it is used. From full carbon tubs to partial panels to welded steel tube sandwich structures, the only limitation is imagination.
I'm not talking about a plastic Revell model of a '57 Chevy, but a real vehicle, one that rolls off an assembly line in 1999 with another 99,999 just like it right behind. Is it possible, or is this just a fantasy of the marketing department at Elmer's?