You might already know that carbon fiber is a material often used for higher end bike frames. It is a very light material that has vast potential to be shaped and made aerodynamically efficient. It’s also important to note that most bike frames need to be able to be flexible enough to absorb energy so that when you hit that bump – the shock doesn’t all transfer to you! However they also need to retain a degree of stiffness to preserve the strength and balance of the frame. Carbon fiber is a good balance of these attributes.
What does this mean for plastics?
Carbon fiber falls short though when it comes to durability. It can break apart rather easily and also internally before it displays any external damage which can be dangerous if it suddenly breaks apart without warning on a rider.
This is where many new hybrid composites come in. These techniques blend multiple materials into one ply – usually carbon fiber and plastic or steel.
Innegra, a material produced by Innegra Technologies, is a hybrid composite that is a blend of carbon fiber and polypropylene plastic. The two materials work together with the plastic increasing impact absorption with the carbon fiber maintaining stiffness. Dyneema, by Royal DSM, is another hybrid composite that is made with a polyethylene plastic instead that is also durable and light
Where else are these materials used?
Currently few frames are made with these materials as they continue to come out of testing however there are many accessories such as handle bars, bike shoes, saddles, and more. As more testing is completed we expect to see an increase in the use of these hybrid composites in not only bike frames, but all sorts of products.
Here at Lomont Molding LLC, we are always paying close attention to the innovations in the great world of #plastics. Many will say one of the more interesting things about us is so many things we produce here are in front of you every single day without you realizing it. So naturally we find these new materials being used to replace something as common as a bike frame pretty interesting.
- Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinmurnane