No. of Recommendations: 2
Once an exotic material, carbon fiber is closer to going mainline. It's high strength to weight ratio will improve the energy efficiency of cars and airplanes. Exciting technology but doubtful as an investment thesis. It's more likely to be enabling than disruptive technology.

Manufacturing advances bring carbon fiber closer to mass production
By John McElroy
Posted Nov 27th 2012 5:31PM

Automakers have dreamed of using carbon fiber in mass production for decades. But sky-high raw material prices and painfully slow manufacturing cycle times meant that dream was always more like a fantasy. Not anymore. Several recent advancements mean that carbon fiber could soon play an important role in the automotive industry.

Carbon fiber has been used in race cars, exotic sports cars and in automotive aftermarket parts for years. But now automakers believe they've identified the path of how to use it in mass production, and do so by the second half of this decade.

There's no one single breakthrough, but rather a combination of improvements that make this possible. And they're coming just in time for automakers who face the daunting task of boosting their average fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon.

Denny Schlesinger
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