Fake fur is what designer Da Feng wants to use to raise aerodynamic efficiency. Feng, who recently impressed a lot of people with his Gym Car concept, said that his latest design study dubbed the Flake is covered in hinged carbon-fiber pieces.
To make them either stand up or lay flat, the pieces are each linked by carbon nanotubes to tiny solenoids. This gives the appearance of a very upset cat. These brakes could act like air brakes or aid turns by puffing up on the opposite direction.
Feng explained that when moving at high speed, the car will contract to its closed position to help control airflow. The flakes will spring open to dynamically adjust downforce when turning or under braking.
These open flakes enable the car to lean into the corner for improved handling. The 12 leglike structures that are arranged in a circle actually look a bit like wheels. As the legs turn on a wheel hub, they extend and contract depending on the road surface and vehicle speed.
At high speeds, the bottom part of the “wheel” flattens, turning the circle into a D-shape. Feng refers to them as D-wheels. He explained that the wheel becomes a part of the suspension system as the D-wheels track ground surfaces and adjust accordingly.
Feng said that due to the increased traction of the D-wheels, the Flake may also function as a competent off-roader. He said that an ex-Williams F1 engineer had said that its design is aerodynamically sound and only requires some minor modifications.
But then, Feng doesn’t want to bring up hopes that the Flake will one day arrive at the dealerships. He said that the idea incites “a lot of optimism” but it’s actually not intended to be a practical solution. Rather, it serves to inspire others.