MacPherson struts go carbon-fibre

If you are a petroldhead, your fetish construction material has to be carbon-fibre.

In racing carbon-fibre is, well, pretty much ubiquitous in its presence on F1 cars. The reason is the combination of low mass and high strength.

It’s rather expensive though and quite labour intensive to produce, which is why you're hardly likely to see it on the new VW Vivo, for instance.

With manufacturers seeking to improve the efficiency of their cars (lowering emissions and fuel consumption), weight reduction has become a massive issue in the last few years.

One of the best ways to trim mass is by increasing the volume of carbon-fibre within a vehicle’s construction.

Whereas one traditionally expects to find carbon-fibre present in a car’s surfacing or cabin, German automotive supply giant ZF has an alternative which hides behind the wheels.

High-tech material, simple construction

Engineers at ZF have now fashioned a carbon-fibre MacPherson strut, which the company claims reduces weight per wheel corner by as much as 3kg.

In terms of construction the ZF MacPherson assembly features an integrated carrier and piston rod hewn from carbon-fibre, whilst the spring and top mount plate are fibreglass and plastic respectively.

The only traditional construction part of the ZF MacPherson strut equation is its steel damper tube. In its current state the ZF carbon strut is only rated to suspend cars with a mass of less than 900kg. Essentially the ZF carbon strut is limited to lightweight British sportscars for the moment.

Interestingly, ZF says the carbon strut’s fewer parts and reduced assembly complexity brings it into a pricing alignment with traditional suspension technology.

All we know is this: it looks extraordinarily cool.

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