A Carbon Fiber Chassis is when carbon fiber is used to build the chassis or the frame of a vehicle instead of the usual choice
A chassis, being the frame of the vehicle has to be rigid or strong to absorb and retain movements and vibrations from the engine,
suspension and axles. It should also be as light as possible to improve the vehicle's performance and fuel efficiency.
A carbon fiber chassis is used on performance oriented vehicles because they are approximately twice as rigid, significantly
stronger but is much lighter than a steel or aluminium panels.
Carbon fiber can be recycled but it loses its strength. Steel and aluminium can be recycled and become just as strong and useful
as it was before.
A carbon fiber chassis is always some sort of monocoque design with stronger
and weaker areas similar to using different alloys in metal.
Carbon Fiber also called carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is a composite material that is used for several purposes in
and out of the automotive industry.
The process in making carbon fiber starts with very thin strands of carbon (thinner than hair), the carbon strands are then
twisted together like thread and then the threads are woven together like the process of making cloth, this cloth can be referred
to as a graphite textile.
This piece of graphite textile is basically useless. It is very strong but is flexible just like regular cloth. To transform
the carbon into a permanent and useful shape the cloth is placed in a mould of the desired shape and then coated with a resin or plastic
that becomes very stiff when it dries (hence the term reinforced plastic).
A carbon fiber chassis is usually only used on supercars and formula one cars where the strong and
light weight properties of carbon fiber takes preference over the high cost.
A chassis can also be only part carbon fiber. For this type the other part is usually aluminium
and both parts are bolted together.
Several supercars use a carbon fiber tub which is a monocoque with a tub like design around the passenger compartment with the rest
of the chassis extending forward and rearward of the tub and is often attached to carbon fiber
It is easy to place crumple zones into the chassis as the threads can be woven so one direction
can be stronger than the other or it can have a few intended weaker areas (similar to alloys).
One downside to carbon fiber body is a lack of flexibility. For instance a metallic chassis can be heated and straightened or
welded if it is slightly bent or cracked.
Carbon fiber will not bend, once the force of impact is large enough it will crack or break and repairing it in most cases is not
The carbon fiber chassis is now an integral part of supercar design and manufacturing and should continue to advance in the automotive