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      03-07-2011, 01:38 AM   #19
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Economy of scale

Originally Posted by Dennis911 View Post
The more you produce, the cheaper it usually gets. It's rather simply economics.
Well, EVENTUALLY yes cf components will be cheapER than they are now. Whether that will be cheaper/more expensive than steel is unknown.

The problem with going for a whole different type of material is investment. If you go from steel to high strength steel or even to aluminium most of your know-how would need only minor adjustments. There will be costs, but no where near as going for cf which is a whole new thing altogether. The engineering is different, processes and techniques are different. Even processes down the line (like painting, assembly, handling, etc.) are different so that's nearly like re-inventing the wheel.

Then you will have the problem of raw materials. Humans have been using steel for hundreds of years. There are established standards and supply chains all the way from ore to shaped forms. Going cf would mean having to go through all this all-over again. While they might not be making anything new, they will be making it in a whole new scale. Think of 1 dude hammering on samurai swords compared to factories making kitchen knives.

All this will cost vast amounts of money which will go in someway to off-set the economy of scale at least in the first 5-10 years.

I am all for cf. Reducing weight is THE way to go. I just don't imagine it being comparable to steel in terms of costs at least in the next 5 years.