Australia, we've just leveled up our Science skill: as a country, we now have the resources in place to mass-produce carbon fibre.
The formula for crafting strong, tensile carbon fibre is a closely held secret and the result of patents from a small number of companies around the world, but CSIRO and Deakin University worked together and patented a new process that should be both stronger and with more consistent quality across its length than existing methods.
The new wet spinning machine, built in Italy to specs from CSIRO's researchers, is apparently the last piece in the puzzle for Australia to mass produce its own carbon fibre. Carbon fibre has a multitude of uses, but it's widely used in the automotive world to create rigid tubs for supercars from companies like McLaren and Ferrari.
One of Australia's most innovative car companies does good work with carbon fibre already; Carbon Revolution in Geelong built a carbon fibre air intake for the last Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo, and is crafting the 20-inch 10-spoke wheels that'll spin under the barnstorming 2017 Ford GT.
The new Ford GT — y'know, the one that 6,000 people ordered despite only 500 being built in 2017/18 — is a beautiful and innovative supercar, with its sleek lines and highly-turbocharged EcoBoost V6. But the future car's 20-inch carbon fibre shoes will be built in Geelong.
Image Cache. McLaren has two unique cars on display at the Geneva Motor Show this year. McLaren's skunkworks Special Operations group has created an all-carbon-fibre tribute to the outgoing P1, and there's also a carbon-fibre-bodied bespoke version of the new 675LT Spider, McLaren's fastest ever street legal convertible.
Lightweight carbon fibre in your everyday road-going family sedan could be commonplace in the not-too-distant future, with the news that BMW and Audi are working hard to cut the cost of producing the high-tech material by 90 per cent, bringing it into competition with steel and aluminium for mass-market automotive production.