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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Working with carbon

    Great site BTW and almost around the corner from me. I'm building/seriously modifying a car and need an oil tank and a airbox modification. I'd like to go with carbon, mostly because it looks great. The oil goes through a cooler first and then gets stored in the tank before going into the motor through a hose screw fitted to the tank. The tank is not pressurized and capacity is about 6 litres. The airbox is an extension of the existing box but routed to fit the intake on the new engine.

    I have quite a lot of experience working with metals but none at all with carbon. The method that I'm using to get the serious compound angles and shapes is polystyrene which I'll disolve with acetone after completing the carbon.

    Thats the project. Any suggestions on the type of carbon and epoxies?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    One potential problem might be heat deflection temperature. Most cured boatbuilding epoxy’s will start to soften at around 55C/130F, so hot oil could be a problem. High temp epoxy’s are available but would be more expensive than our stock systems. The lightest carbon Noah’s stocks is 5.2 oz, this will conform about the same as 6 oz E Glass so will bend easly about the radius of a dime.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Markham, Ontario


    Jim, Noah is right about sharp angles. You will find that you may have challenges with very sharp included angles. Unless you are vacuum bagging (which I strongly recommend) you will have problems. In addition, vacuum bagging increases the desnisty of the lay up and will provide a better part. Finally, you need to be aware that you will absolutely need to line the inside of the tank with an inert material that will not allow the oil to contaminate the carbon layup. If you don't you will risk delamination from the inside and oil contamination that WILL lead to engine oil failure!!

    There is a reason why engine builders do NOT use carbon fibre for tanks. The only carbon fibre used in NASCAR engine oil systems is the vent stack (as an example). Any drysump tank or reservoir tank is aluminum.

    Pegasus Racing sells a good quality dry sump tank that should be suitable for your needs. these tanks are what I use in the race cars. They are a two-piece spun alloy type that come apart for easy cleaning and are sturdy and effective. Highly recommended.

    I have had good luck with fuel tank lining material in all my tanks; there are a number of products out there, I recommend Randolfs, who manufacture for the aircraft industry. Available at Aircraft Spruce or Leggatts, or Leaven's.

    Again, be sure and line the INSIDE of the tank!

    Frankly, if you are wanting the carbon fibre look on an oil tank, I would recommend coating an alloy tank with a layre of carbon; you will have the effecacy of a clean and strong alloy with the look of carbon.

    Here is a link to my photobucket page, which shows a few of the projects I have under way.

    In terms of air intake systems,. I have recently built a set of intake plenums for LS6 corvette engines. I uses a 6oz twill carbon (two layers) and West epoxy (105/205) Nice solid clean parts. I also recommend coating the inside of air intake systems as fuel "standoff" (atomized fuel/air mixture) in the plenums will cause degredation of the resin over time. A coating with fuel tank liner will address this. I also covered the lower halves of the plenum with a high-preformance gold foil heat reflector material. Expensive stuff, but it works! And not only will this reduce the risk of heat damage to the layup, but also keeps the intake charge cooler and more dense.

    Best, Tom
    Last edited by brownslane; 01-10-2011 at 10:30 AM. Reason: Added more info

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    interesting information!!! thank you!!!


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