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HomeCyclingCyclingTips podcast, Episode 27: What lurks beneath carbon fiber’s mysterious floor?

CyclingTips podcast, Episode 27: What lurks beneath carbon fiber’s mysterious floor?

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Of all of the supplies utilized in bicycle frames and elements, carbon fiber is probably probably the most generally misunderstood. Whereas it has a status for automated manufacturing devoid of human contact or soul, it’s truly much more labor-intensive materials than metals. Fashionable modular monocoque frames, for instance, comprise a whole bunch of particular person items of carbon material, virtually all of that are laid by hand earlier than finally curing in a mould underneath intense warmth and stress.

It’s solely by means of such elaborate manufacturing processes that we’re capable of get a lot efficiency out of such extremely light-weight buildings. Nonetheless, that complexity additionally introduces higher chance for human error, and regardless of most carbon-fiber frames and elements trying excellent on the floor, it’s widespread for these merchandise to be less-than-perfect beneath, even on brand-new gadgets contemporary from the manufacturing unit ground.

Voids and wrinkles are the most typical defects, and their severity can fluctuate from merchandise to merchandise, as can their impression on a product’s energy and efficiency.

Carbon fiber bicycle frames are product of a whole bunch of particular person items of pre-preg carbon, that are virtually all the time positioned by hand. Such element is what permits carbon buildings to supply such unimaginable efficiency for a given weight, nevertheless it additionally introduces the potential of human error.

Typically, these defects have minimal (if any) real-world impression, with loads of structural redundancy to offset no matter structural deficiencies there is perhaps consequently. That’s not all the time true, nonetheless, and corporations are continually striving to cut back — and even remove — the frequency of these defects from the manufacturing course of.

For this week’s CyclingTips podcast, U.S. technical editor James Huang invited two visitor panelists to lend some appreciable experience: Chris Meertens, senior composites engineer for brand new U.S. bike producer HIA Velo; and Raoul Luescher of Luescher Teknik, a carbon fiber inspection and restore guru primarily based in Melbourne, Australia, with an extended background within the aerospace {industry}.

Luescher outlines a number of the manufacturing points he’s present in carbon fiber bicycle merchandise through the years, and Meertens discusses a number of the revolutionary processes HIA Velo has instituted to enhance the standard of its frames. Briefly: issues are undoubtedly getting significantly better industry-wide, however they’re nonetheless not as excellent as many wish to consider.

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Episode 27 Direct Obtain



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