Only how much will such a replacement of batteries cost manufacturers (and subsequently buyers) – so far remains a mystery. Leif Asp, a professor of computational mechanics at Chalmers Technical University, found out in a recent study that carbon fibers of a certain type can accumulate energy (perform battery functions). In other words, electric cars with carbon fiber cases will be able to do without standard batteries.
Leif Asp and his team of researchers studied all commercially available types of carbon fibers. The results showed that this material is able to accumulate energy or, more precisely, the elements of its microstructure can work as electrodes in lithium-ion batteries. However, not all carbon fibers can replace batteries. According to the study, carbon fibers with small and poorly connected crystals have good electrochemical properties, but their strength is relatively low, and the types of this material with large and firmly connected crystals are more durable, but they have rather weak electrochemical properties.
However, all types of carbon fiber are extremely durable: the difference is that one type is about the same as steel, and the other is twice as strong. Simply put, carbon fibers can be safely used as a material for the manufacture of car bodies and airplanes. The catch lies in the fact that for flying vehicles of the future (working entirely on electricity) you will need to install several layers of carbon fiber – the hull will be stronger and will be able to accumulate more energy.
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According to Leif Aspa’s calculations, the manufacture of vehicle bodies from carbon fiber will reduce their weight by up to 50%. Despite everything, carbon fiber is now an extremely expensive material. It is used to make sports car bodies, in which maximum lightness and speed are important, and the cost is in the background. Therefore, it is unclear how much more expensive electric cars with carbon fiber battery cases will become. If their cost is too high, automakers are unlikely to give up standard batteries.
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