Carbon Fiber Round-Up: November 2014
Programmable Carbon Fiber
The Self-Assembly Lab at MIT has developed materials that can be programmed to transform their shape autonomously. Materials react with passive energy sources, like water, heat, or light, to fold and twist to a desired shape. Carbon fiber is one of those materials.
It’s reported that Self-Assembly Lab Director Skylar Tibbits and his group are working with industry partners, like company Carbitex, to produce the self-transforming carbon fiber—fully cured but flexible, and printable to make it active. It looks like the programmable carbon is headed for use in aerospace and the automotive industry.
Airfoils on your car can change shape on their own when it begins to rain? It could make for better road control and it could happen sooner than later.
College students have already begun to prepare for next year’s Formula Hybrid competition, to take place in April 2015 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Sponsored by Darmouth College, the competition is an interdisciplinary design and engineering challenge for undergraduate and graduate university students. Teams must collaboratively design and build a formula-style electric or plug-in hybrid racecar and compete in a series of events. Teams are usually a collaboration of mechanical and electrical engineering students, with composite technology coming into play. Fibre Glast Developments is excited to be a second-year sponsor in 2015!
“More you, less chair.” That’s how Carbon Black is marketing their new, trimmed-down wheelchair design, made almost entirely from carbon fiber. The chair features a unique monocoque design with no external frame—the seat itself is a key part of the structure, creating a strong, stiff chair using the least components possible. External attachments, including wheels, can be quickly and easily removed, making it easier to transport. It weighs in at less than 20 pounds.
Chair designers, which included input from Formula 1 engineers, also note that carbon fiber monocoque design minimizes vibration rolling and delivers a suspension much like that of conventional wheelchairs—without any added weight.
The carbon chair can be built to user size and configuration requirements, and provides a comfortable base without compromising appearance. It’s sleek and durable, with performance designed around the needs and preferences of the user.
Solar Impulse 2
The Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) is on track to be the first solar airplane ever to fly round-the-world without a drop of fuel.
This revolutionary single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber has a wingspan of more than 230 feet (72 meters, larger than that of the Boeing 747-81) for a weight of just over 5,000 pounds, equivalent to that of a car.
The 17,000 solar cells built into the wing supply four electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy.
During the day, the solar cells recharge lithium batteries which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore to have virtually unlimited autonomy.
It’s expected the Si2 will be piloted in a total of 10 legs by co-founders Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg—both of whom piloted the first day-and-night flight of the original Solar Impulse. Read up on the initial Solar Impulse flight in a previous blog article. And look for the Si2 round-the-world flight to launch in March 2015 from Abu Dhabi.
Carbon fiber delivers the highest strength- and stiffness-for-weight in the composite industry—more than any other common reinforcement and even most traditional building materials. Among reinforcements, it boasts incredible tensile, compressive, and flexural strength, as well. To maximize these strength properties for any lamination, it is recommended for use with an epoxy, like our System 2000 Epoxy. Check out our complete selection of carbon fiber fabrics, tow, sleeve, and more on product pages at FibreGlast.com.