Thursday, February 25
You see, as some of you know, I'm an engineer. More significantly, as far fewer know, I have over 30 years of carbon composite experience in flight vehicle structures. These range from flaky homebuilt aircraft up to things that lead me to take offense when people talk about "rocket scientists." It's somewhere upward of 300 composite assemblies over the years.
The world of carbon composites is vast and complex. Some of it is fundamental to making weapons of war, so I'll stay away from things that will cause me to be thrown into prison for violating the "International Trafficking in Arms Regulations." Don't look here if you want me to spill the beans on how to build the world's most advanced fighter jet, or how to sabotage carbon helicopter blades. Put simply, carbon is just another material. Like many, if you abuse it, it can kill you. Aircraft manufacturers have failed with the material (of COURSE my example is Airbus) Carbon is more than just a fashion statement, though it is clearly THAT as well.
If you want to use carbon composites as MORE than a fashion statement, there's a lot of stuff you need to know, and I'll plan on doing a series of articles that, strung together, constitute at least a short story on the subject for regular people - and bike mechanics.
First off, I'll treat a few of the items brought up in CITIZEN RIDER'S excellent challenge. This will preceed the organized treatment:
CR COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS
#1 - All those inspection items are not going to do you any good at all, though squid magnotometers at least sound really cool. In aircraft, beyond a visual inspection to see really extreme stuff, it is really only ultrasonic or xray inspection that is used. I think most bike shops and people are not in a position to do xray inspections. Even ultrasonic inspections are not as wonderful as most think. Ultrasonic equipment suitable for a bike shop can be had for $200-$4000 via ebay. The upper end seems more than I'd want to pay. The lower end is a thickness measurer. Maybe just not good enough. For a dedicated bike mechanic, there are other common sense solutions, however.