SEP 2018


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SEPTEMBER 2018 38 CompositesWorld » Global market research firm Lucintel (Dallas, TX, US) predicts that the worldwide bicycle market will be worth US$59.9 billion by 2021, with CAGR of 2.4% from 2016 to 2021. Although bicycles with carbon fiber composites frames and other compo- nents will no doubt still account for a small percentage of that market's upper end, it is clear that bicycle manufacturers are increasingly turning to carbon fiber compos- ites for the advantages they offer. Compared to aluminum bikes, those made with carbon fiber are extremely lightweight, have greater strength and stiffness and damp vibration better due to the viscoelastic nature of resin matrices. Further, they are more responsive in terms of handling and feel, and, because they are molded, they can be made more aesthetically attractive, with striking texture choices. All of this is very appealing to riders, says Dr. Scott W. Beckwith, president of BTG Composites Inc. (Taylorsville, UT, US) and the global technical director for the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering (SAMPE, Diamond Bar, CA, US). ere is a caveat, of course: Composite parts and structures cannot be designed or built in the same ways used to conceive and construct amorphous metallic parts. Composite materials are typically anisotropic. at is, their strength and other mechanical properties are directional rather than uniform — the load-carrying capacity of the composite is optimal in the direction(s) of fiber orientation. is, of course, provides a great advantage to the designer, but also is a source of aggrava- tion in that the designer must select carefully from what has become a vast array of composite material possibilities to best meet a manufacturer's specific bike perfor- mance requirements. Steps bike designers and manufacturers must take to keep high- performance carbon fiber composite bicycles safe, upright and on the road or trail. Safe cycling: Keys to composite bike design integrity By Donna Dawson / Senior Writer Emeritus

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