July 27, 2021 4:28:40 PM IST
Mulliner, today the body construction specialist at Bentley, has developed the world’s largest full carbon light alloy wheel with a diameter of 22 inches. The wheel developed for the Bentley Bentayga SUV removes six kilograms of unsprung mass from every corner of the car, which enables Bentayga to achieve significant weight savings (compared to the 2.4 tonne curb weight of the SUV) and weight advantages. What is even more impressive, however, is that the carbon fiber wheel was the first of its kind to pass all the strict tests of the German TÜV (Technical Inspection Association), including impact tests.
In conditions that would otherwise break an aluminum alloy wheel and cause the tire to explode, the carbon fiber wheel developed by Mulliner allowed slow deflation by breaking the carbon fibers while the wheel retained its structure.
The wheel has been developed for five years in collaboration with the specialist Bucci Composites. In addition to the weight savings through carbon fiber, any reduction in the unsprung mass (including wheels, tires, braking system) of the suspension leads to greater advantages in terms of increased steering agility. Carbon fiber wheels also offer less wheel flex, less tire wear and increased stability at the table.
The wheels are made through a patented process that involves resin transfer molding, where prescribed strips of carbon fiber are stacked on top of each other and placed in molds to create 3D preforms before resin and hardener are injected into the mold and cured into the final product, which is then made buffed to the finish you see.
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