COUNTERVAIL® composites technology tackles rough road ahead
The Infinito CV carbon composite bicycle from Italian manufacturer Bianchi has burst onto the cycling scene this year already a victor. The cycle is sleek. It embodies aerodynamic design. Carbon fiber construction delivers strength for an impressively light weight that preserves leg strength and endurance. But these are factors that both professionals and serious cycling enthusiasts have come to demand.
So what has set this cycle atop a growing field of competitors? A secret weapon that cyclist Lars Boom knows well – he rode the Infinito CV to a first-place finish in Stage 5 of the Tour de France this year – a segment of the race infamous for its rough, cobblestone terrain.
The Infinito model boasts an integrated vibration-cancelling product called COUNTERVAIL® developed and produced by Materials Sciences Corp. of Pennsylvania. COUNTERVAIL combines traditional vibration-damping layer concepts with a patented fiber preform to offer what Materials Sciences reports as an “unparalleled” vibration reduction in composite structures. The damping is derived from the fiber preform itself, where the fiber pattern maximizes the vibrational energy dissipation by a viscoelastic damping layer.
In more basic terms, vibration is reduced by twice as much (even more in certain tests) when compared to similar construction using traditional damping techniques. When a bicycle passes over rough terrain, like cobblestones for example, COUNTERVAIL is able to damp the resonance quickly, so the rider feels considerably less, head-bobbing vibration than with other bikes.
Lay-ups can be tailored to balance stiffness, strength, and damping to meet nearly any performance need. Beyond bicycle frames, Countervail technology offers the potential for thinner, lighter aircraft interior panels that offer airlines the benefit of reduced transmission of engine and airflow noise into the aircraft cabin. It could allay the repeated and severe shock loads experienced by marine vessels as the result of high-speed wave impacts, as well.