See How Porsche Produces Braided Carbon Fiber Wheels

25 August 2017

A 20-inch 911 Turbo Carbon Wheel for the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. Source: Porsche AGA 20-inch 911 Turbo Carbon Wheel for the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. Source: Porsche AG

The Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series offers 607 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, and can reach 124 mph (200 kmh) in a mere 9.6 seconds. And starting in 2018, it will also feature lightweight wheels with braided carbon fiber (at a cost of $18,000, or EUR 15,232).

Porsche claims to be the first global automotive manufacturer to use braiding technology and to employ the world’s largest carbon fiber braiding machine—with a 30 ft (9 m) diameter—to manufacture the wheel rim base. The wheel center is made from carbon-fiber fabric in a process that involves cutting and assembling over 200 individual components. After the wheel center is braided into the rim base, the assembled unit is impregnated with resin and pre-hardened at high pressure and high temperatures. The finished wheel is hardened at high temperatures followed by a long cooling process, and the central lock is then inserted into the finished wheel.

Together, the wheels weigh around 19 lbs (8.5 kg) less than standard alloy wheels, which is a reduction of 20 percent. Relative to manufacturing pre-impregnated carbon-fiber fabric, this production technique makes the material structure of the carbon considerably denser and more compact.

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