Author: AKeson

Carbon Fiber Yike Bike

People are coming up with a lot of great products made of carbon fiber composites.  The nature of these products makes the use of composites a requirement. I found an interesting video of a very specialized carbon fiber bike.  Called the Yike Bike, it is basically an electric scooter that allows for urban transportation.  The bike folds into a small and portable unit that can be easily carried and stored. The use of carbon fiber is necessary due to the requirements of light weight and high strength.  It is necessary for this scooter to support and transport people of various size and weight.  The bike also must be lightweight so that it can be easily carried aboard trains and into office and apartment buildings. This unit is definitely a feat of engineering, and is available to the public in the Summer of 2010.  It is pricey, but fills a unique role for those that require urban...

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Non-Destructive Testing with Ultrasound

Composite materials can become damaged in many different ways. There can also be flaws in the original manufacturing process. Many times it is necessary to identify any damaged areas within the composites layers that cannot be detected with the eye. Inspection of composites fiberglass and carbon fiber structures may be required for advanced critical applications of composites materials. Identifying any potential problems with the composites structure is extremely important. Of course problems can be identified through destructive testing-drilling holes, making cuts, etc. It also may be necessary to do testing in a non-destructive manner, i.e. not cutting into the laminate that is being tested. One method of accomplishing non-destructive testing of composites laminates is using ultrasound. This Youtube video demonstrates the use of this method. As you can see, the damage is found in this carbon fiber laminate. This information is a flag that can be used to decide whether to make a repair or replace the structure. Delamination within the fiberglass or carbon fiber part will result in a much weaker structure than the design intended. Other areas of the composites part will be further strained by weaknesses in other areas and may also fail. This ultrasonic test can help to identify otherwise invisible problems with either the original manufacturing process or damage during the life cycle of the composite...

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Chrome Plated Fiberglass

Fiberglass Composite materials can be coated to show many different finished effects.  I ran across a Youtube video demonstrating a spray on chrome process with a fiberglass molded piece. It is interesting to see the change in appearance as the coating is applied. I am amazed at how wet the part is sprayed.  Definitely not a traditional spray application method. My guess is that the spraying with an air nozzle is working to help remove any runs and wrinkles in the surface finish. This coating process will act like a painted surface more than a part that has been subjected to a hardened plating process.  Surface adhesion will be very important to test the durability of the finished...

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Cirrus Composite Airframes

I found a very interesting Youtube peek inside of the Cirrus airplane assembly factory in Minnesota. While it would be cool to learn more about the actual composites fabrication of the individual parts, there is some great information about part bonding, inspection, and final assembly of the Cirrus aircraft. They use fiberglass and carbon fiber reinforcements to create a very strong and durable fuselage, and it is great to see in action. Personal jets made of composite materials offer many advantages and unique properties. Design of complex shapes and anti corrosion of aluminum are two advantages. Disadvantages include repeatability and upgrading/modification. Composites that are properly designed and fabricated can be used in many applications where safety is a big concern. Proper design and inspection during production can create an airplane that can be easily maintained and have a very long life. Great factory tour courtesy of...

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Underwater Pipe Repair

An epoxy and fiberglass wrap can repair steel pipes while submerged underwater. Repairing small holes in pipes by wrapping them is sure to be much less expensive and disruptive than replacing bad sections of pipe. Divers must have access to the circumference of the pipe and the pipe must be free of its contents to prevent contamination and allow for the wrap to seal the leak. As always, surface preparation is very important, and is demonstrated in the video with the grinder. The epoxy must form a good bond with the substrate material, not the rust and scale that is on the outside of the pipe. Jeff Longmoore of TFT demonstrates how this repair is performed in a Youtube video, but does so in a dry environment rather than the actual underwater one....

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