Proof that being obsessed about something isn't necessarily bad.
The engineers from Liverpool-based Briggs Automotive Company have a fixation with making the Mono as light as possible, even though the hardcore track toy is already a featherweight champion at just 580 kilograms (1,278 pounds, dry). After developing carbon-composite wheels, BAC has done it yet again, this time by becoming the first manufacturer in the world to use graphene for some of the body panels of what it describes as being “world’s only road-legal, single-seater supercar.”
It was possible by teaming up with Haydale Composite Solutions to jointly develop rear wheel arches made out of graphene. In general, using graphene brings 20-percent weight savings and a 200-percent boost in strength compared to steel. For those unfamiliar with graphene, it’s made by joining one-atom-thick sheets of carbon and is considerably lighter than the conventional carbon fiber found on many of today’s supercars.
You can imagine extending the applicability of graphene on more body panels would enable a significant diet compared to the standard Mono, and at the same time would improve overall body strength. BAC explains the rear wheel arches are the first to receive the graphene treatment due to the size and complexity of the body part. In addition, these are the most suitable to test the manufacturing process and also check how graphene fits in with the Mono.
While it may be too soon to put graphene on a car because of the high production costs, it is however yet another sign that BAC is dead serious about shaving off weight which consequently pays dividends in terms of performance and fuel economy.
Gallery: Graphene-bodied Mono
ANOTHER WORLD FIRST FROM BAC WITH GRAPHENE-BODIED MONO
- BAC takes large development leap by using graphene on the single seater supercar, the Mono
- The use of the innovative material is a world first, as BAC further illustrates its ability to make technological advancements
- The panel development was done in collaboration with Haydale Composite Solutions
- The lightweight material features on the Mono’s rear wheel arches
- graphene is lighter and stronger than carbon fibre, bringing weight and performance benefits
BAC is the first manufacturer in the world to develop a car featuring panels made from graphene, the innovative and lightweight material that brings weight and strength benefits.
BAC has partnered with Haydale Composite Solutions to create rear wheel arches made out of graphene, and has been putting the material through its paces on the Mono, the world’s only road legal single-seater supercar.
Graphene is made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick, and is significantly lighter than standard carbon fibre. It is also stronger than carbon fibre, meaning that it can bring weight reductions of around 20% while being 200 times stronger than steel. These benefits could have implications for cost, performance and fuel economy when applied wider in the manufacturing process.
BAC chose to test the use of graphene on the rear wheel arches due to the size and complexity of the part, to thoroughly test the manufacturing process and how the material fitted in with the car.
BAC Development Director and co-founder Neill Briggs said: “BAC is uniquely placed in the automotive industry to be able to take innovative steps, and latest work with graphene is further proof of this. This development work is further proof of our ability to work with the very latest materials and innovators. At BAC we don’t wait for new technology to come to us, we actively seek it out and work with the very best in the industry to stay at the forefront of the automotive and motorsport industries.
“Making significant weight savings and improving body strength will allow us to offer improved performance to our customers. This is the latest in a line of ground-breaking innovations on the Mono, and we were delighted to have worked with graphene composite industry leaders, Haydale, on this exciting project.”
Ebby Shahidi, Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd.’s Director of Aerospace and Defence added: “We are pleased to have worked on the design and development of the graphene enhanced carbon fibre materials for the BAC Mono. These initial materials have shown some major increases in impact and thermal performance coupled with improved surface finish and it’s pleasing to see these attributes being demonstrated on such a high performance vehicle as the Mono.
“We look forward to collaborating further with BAC and delivering even higher performance materials and components to increase the performance of this exciting vehicle.”
BAC showed the graphene enhanced Mono at the Science in the City festival in Manchester.