I'm not going to argue that a plane going through a carrier landing and catapult launch undergoes less stress then a bike. It is way more, but applied in a completely different manner. I'm also willing to bet that those planes have a fair bit of titanium in them.
Originally Posted by mdf
Anything designed to be light will break sometimes -- if not, it's too heavy!
Nonetheless, it is true that composites have different failure mechanisms than metals. They are best in tension, so-so in compression, not too good in abrasion. From a practical point of view, this means it may take a few tries to get a carbon design right if ones experience and intuition is from metals.
Exactly! Simply put, carbon sucks at compression. If a bike lands on a rock and has all that force concentrated into one point it is compressing all the fibers, and odds are there will be a failure. You can design for impact though:
I ave no idea what engine this is, or what the rotors are made of. But you get the idea...
I have a fairly good idea what kind of testing bike frames go through before being sent out, but still recognize that in an impact situation straight carbon can't match steel or other materials. Do any companies advertise a carbon/aramid frame?
All this being said, would I ride a carbon frame? Hell Yes! I'm a huge tech junky, and my road frame is like mainly carbon. Soaks up vibrations like a drream...