Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Get the wrinkles out

Advanced International Multitech Co. Ltd. of Taiwan has just announced via Bike Europe that they have a new manufacturing method which reduces wrinkles on the inside of carbon bike frame tubes. How big a deal could that be? A look at this cutaway Specialized frame displayed at this year's Tour of California gives a clue:
Check out the variations in wall thickness and wrinkles inside that tube. Every wrinkle is a stress riser, decreasing fatigue life. That thin spot at the apex of the top tube - down tube junction is right in an area of tensile stress too. Although this frame no doubt surpasses strength requirements and would have served its rider for a long time had it not been band-sawed, a lighter frame could be manufactured if the wall thickness was better controlled. That way, they wouldn't have to err on the thick side so that even the thin spots weren't too thin. Looks like at least one company would benefit from this new technology.

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