Porsche has become the first automotive manufacturer to make lightweight wheels with braided carbon fiber. These wheels will be provided as an option for customers who buy the Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series.
The wheels are protected by a layer of clear lacquer that highlights the distinctive black look of carbon fiber. According to Porsche, the wheels are not only lighter than standard alloys, they are also 20 per cent stronger. A set of four wheels weighs only 8.5 kilograms. Hence, they are 20 per cent than conventional alloy wheels
Due to their lower unsprung weight, the car’s tyres will thus trail the surface of the road better and will be more capable of absorbing longitudinal and lateral forces. As they will have lower rotating masses, they will respond more spontaneously to acceleration and braking. The outcome is better driving dynamics and driving pleasure.
The braided carbon fiber wheels are manufactured entirely from carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP). The wheel is made up of essentially two components; a wheel center made from carbon-fiber fabric, with its construction calling for the cutting and assembling over 200 individual components and a rim base made from braided carbon fiber. The rim base has a diameter of approximately nine meters and was made using what Porsche claims is the world’s largest carbon fiber braiding machine. The wheel center is then braided into the rim base, the assembled wheel impregnated with resin and pre-hardened at high pressure and high temperatures. When this process is completed, the finished wheel is cured at high temperatures and cooled for a long time before the central lock is inserted into the finished wheel. The finishing touch is to give further protection to the wheel with a coating of clear lacquer.
Porsche says the technology used to make the wheel is “extremely complex”. When compared to the conventional method of manufacturing pre-impregnated carbon-fiber fabric, the braiding technology provides key advantages as the carbon’s material structure is considerably denser and more compact, thus increasing the rigidity of the wheel. The process is also more efficient and produces less waste. The new carbon wheel can be made from 18 kilometers of carbon fiber as well as eight square meters of carbon-fiber fabric.
Porsche’s new carbon wheels will be available as an option for the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series from the beginning of 2018 in size 9 J x 20 for the front axle and 11.5 J x 20 for the rear.
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