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The use of Innegra S high performance fibre is one of the contributing factors to the Brawn GP Formula One Team’s unprecedented start to the 2009 Formula One season which includes eight Grand Prix victories to date.
When used with carbon fibre, manufacturers say that Innegra can increase the toughness, decrease the weight, and decrease the cost of carbon fibre composites.
Typically used in a layered hybrid or a hybrid fabric, the fibre can be strategically placed to reduce the weight and increase the toughness. Developers claim that the material imparts a paradigm shifting difference in post-impact part integrity: the carbon/Innegra part does not break off as readily, shattering into pieces, but holds together often with a hinged break due to the Innegra fabric.
“When Innegra composite is damaged there is a tendency to tear and pull out fibres from the matrix rather than form sharp debris” says Gary Savage, Brawn GP Operations Director. This sharp debris can subsequently cause potential accidents when scattered on the track as it has the ability to damage other car’s tyres.
Due to this increased part integrity, Innegrity believe that damaged cars may not have to pit immediately to replace the damaged part, therefore saving precious seconds in the race.
Developers and manufacturers have agreed that in many cases, Innegra fabrics can be used directly in conjunction with their current process. “The Innegra fabric prepregged easily for us in our standard process” confirmed Cytec’s Ian Williams. Gary Savage further commented that the Innegra fabric required “no special processing conditions and could be integrated into existing production runs at no extra cost.”
Innegrity LLC, manufacturer of Innegra fiber and a Technical Partner to Brawn GP, started jointly developing the application of Innegra fibre in Formula One back in April of 2008 to explore the opportunities of improving the safety of the cars, both for the driver and for other cars on the track.
Ross Brawn, Team Principal at Brawn GP said: “We are very pleased to be working so closely with Innegrity and for the very valuable work that they are doing with the team. Strength, durability and reliability are all crucial for every single component on a Formula One car and Innegrity’s product more than meets our expectations. We look forward to continuing the good work this season.”
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