Plastic Fantastic: Introducing The Carbon Fiber Engine

Plastic Fantastic: Introducing The Carbon Fiber Engine

The single heaviest component on a car, next to that pesky frame, is the iron-lump engine block. Even when it’s honed from aluminum, it’s still a lump—unacceptable, when almost the entire rest of the car can be crafted from svelte, slinky carbon fiber. Until now.

Florida engineer Matti Holtzberg has been working on a composite engine block for the past 40 years, and now he’s finally cracked it (figuratively, not literally). Based on a Ford 2.0-liter Duratec block, Holtzberg’s engine is made from a six-piece mold and a removable core that contains much of the oil passages. The engine takes aluminum cylinder liners to provide strength; previous attempts failed because the carbon fiber cylinder passages just couldn’t hold up.

The engine takes two hours to cure, though Holtzberg mentions that with some production changes an engine could be ready in 5 minutes. Machining effort is minimal, Holtzberg says, because of the accurate molding process. From then it is ready to take more carbon-fiber components such as manifolds, cam covers, and oil pans for special racing purposes.

All in all, the engine cuts 20 pounds from a stock aluminum Duratec engine. But the weight savings won’t be cheap—Car and Driver cites a price of $2500 per pound of weight, which could mean $50,000. Hey, nobody said progress came cheap. But anything to cut the weight of our Modern Safety Vehicles is fighting the good fight. Now you’re thinking with carbon fiber!

[Source: Car and Driver]

  • Plastic automobile engines ?

    Plastic automobile engines?

  • Rob Krebs

    What? Really? Amazing! This is a groundbreaking development for the cars of the future. Without the heavy engine weighing you down, this may well signal a new standard in lightweight, fuel-efficient vehicles.

    Read more about plastics in cars on Facebook:

    Rob Krebs, Market Innovations, American Chemistry Council

  • Gubbins

    Again with the plastic engine hype? When this guy produces legit durability test data in real-world testing I’ll believe it. So far all I see is PR releases and photo ops. And, what’s 20 lbs as a total % of a vehicle’s weight…less than 1%? Sure, weight reduction is important, but at what cost?

  • i  suspect  the  engine  block  is  of  solid  carbon  fiber ?  try  injection  molded  with  supports.  should  cut  down  an  add’l  85%  of  volume  ‘n  weight ?  and . . . with  less  heat  because  not  using  metal . . . should  be  cool  to  the  touch.

  • Randall C Mann

    The carbon fiber engine block would work best with the engine design at  thousand  Work starts at the University of St Thomas in St Paul Minnesota September 2012 check us out and call 612-327-6452

  • Versillio Jones

    A full  or high percentage carbon fiber engine is an inevitability.  I think in a minimum of 20 to 25 years all new engines will be made of carbon fiber components, allowing the weight of a serious sports car for example a 911 to be around 2500 lbs or less, can’t wait.