Gi­ant Weaver

How they’re made

Motor (Australia) - - GEEK SPEAK -


Porsche uses car­bon-fi­bre braid­ing which in­volves fi­bres taken from mul­ti­ple yarns on a ra­dial wheel that are then in­ter­min­gled in a pre­scribed pat­tern over a man­drel. For Porsche, this forms the wheel drum, which is mated to a wheel cen­tre as­sem­bly made of pre-cut car­bon-fi­bre fab­ric.


The pre­form wheel is then pumped with resin and baked at high tem­per­a­ture. Once cool, a lac­quer is ap­plied for fin­ish and heat re­sis­tance. The end re­sult are wheels 20 per cent lighter and stiffer. Don’t for­get, th­ese are 20-inch tall wheels, 11 inches wide. On-limit han­dling im­proves as stiffer wheels re­sist cam­ber de­flec­tion un­der high loads.


Braided wheels boast ex­cel­lent rigid­ity and dura­bil­ity thanks to a more con­sis­tent pro­duc­tion process. For com­par­i­son, Koenigsegg’s and Ford’s GT350R wheel are 40 per cent lighter, how­ever, it’s un­known how much stiffer they are than a reg­u­lar alu­minium wheel. The Swedish hy­per­car maker uses a pre-preg method while Ford’s sup­plier re­mains tight-lipped about its patented process.


Porsche might be telling porkies about its braider wheel be­ing the largest in the world, how­ever, such com­plex tech­nol­ogy does ask for huge in­vest­ment – the wheels are a circa-$20K op­tion. The up­side is braiders can ad­just yarn num­bers, an­gles, speed, ten­sion, and fi­bre type to meet a wider range of re­quire­ments and pur­poses. It’s also a lot more ef­fi­cient, need­ing only 18km of fi­bre com­pared to the 25,484km needed for Ford’s wheels (which are made in Gee­long, Vic­to­ria, in­ci­den­tally).

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