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But they’re brittle – so woven carbon is much more common – it copes with impact better and is easier to mould, particularly at complex junctions.
Often, several sections are created and then bonded together.
Raw carbon is mixed with other magical ingredients to create a composite.
Carbon on its own is too brittle, so it’s mixed with epoxy resin which moulds the fibres together and makes it more able to deflect impact.
When we pitted aero road bikes head to head, using aero testing, we found the Trek Madone Ltd tied with the Specialized Venge.
However, the Madone features the brands Iso Speed decoupler which makes it a much more forgiving and comfortable ride.
Raw carbon fibre due to be used for sports equipment (‘Pitch’ type carbon fibre is used elsewhere) is usually made from polyacrylanitrile (PAN) fibre which is heat treated to take on the shape of long and thin fibres.
Since carbon can be moulded into more aerodynamic shapes, this is also a factor taken into consideration and tested with more computer and wind tunnel analysis.It is constructed from what Boardman calls ‘C7’ carbon, which uses Toray T700 fibres.C7 is Boardman’s entry level choice of carbon, but our reviewer found it more than adequate – stating “Boardman say that this frame provides ‘unparalleled power transfer, comfort and handling’ and for the most part I agree with that statement (for the price).” Read our full review of the Boardman Team Carbon here Another benefit of opting for carbon is that it is very malleable and can be moulded into any shape – which means it can be easily optimised for aerodynamics.That’s not to say that the Ultra-High Modulus carbon should be used everywhere.A good carbon fibre frame uses varying grades of carbon across the construction – whilst stiffness is optimum in some areas (bottom bracket shell, down tube), a little flex elsewhere (seat tubes, chainstays) is an asset.
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Once the resin is added the material is called pre-preg carbon.