Engine brace shows potential for carbon composites

The 2013 Chrysler SRT Viper is a demonstration of the potential for carbon fiber composites in automotive manufacturing with a CFRP hood, roof and liftgate. Now weekend enthusiasts have a new lightweight component to play with.

It's an engine X brace now available as an aftermarket bolt-on made from carbon fiber composite. The purpose of the above-engine component is to improve torsional stiffness of the vehicle. The OEM part is made from aluminum, which cuts weight 40% compared to steel. Now thanks to an engineering assist from Plasan Carbon Composites, the new parts cuts weight 50% compared to the aluminum part.

It's not cheap: MSRP is $3,175.

The CFRP X-Brace matches the body-in-white torsion stiffness of the aluminum X brace, but future versions are expected to improve stiffness, said Leland Decker, who is the engineering lead on the project at Chrysler. The part was optimized for cost and effectiveness through two simulation tools developed for CFRP....

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