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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2005, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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Carbon Fiber Tech info

How it works

Carbon Fiber in its dry fabric form is soft and pliable. It's actually just like any cloth, except that it happens to be comprised of thousands upon thousands of strands of fibers woven together. Our MINI and BMW carbon fiber uses what is called "3K twill", which means that 3000 fiber strands are in each woven cord, and our Ducati carbon fiber utilizes what is called a "plain weave" to match the plain weave that Ducati Performance puts out from the factory.

To make this fabric into a functioning piece, several processes are used (as seen below), all of which basically do the same thing; harden this fabric by incorporating an epoxy (glue) into the material, laying the material into a mold (in the shape of what you're producing), and using heat cure the epoxy. There are several ways to do this, as outlined below, which result in Carbon Fiber products of varying weight and quality. To make sure the epoxy stays inside of the fabric, compaction (pressure) is needed while the epoxy is curing. Lack of compaction leads to pinholes, delamination, and weak components.

Why some carbon fiber turns yellow

Carbon Fiber which uses a poor or medium quality manufacturing process often turn yellow over time with exposure to UV rays and heat because of the clearcoat finish used during post-production. None of our Carbon Fiber use this process, as they are all top quality appearance grade items right out of the autoclave.

Methods of Production, from poor quality to high quality

Poor Quality Carbon Fiber products are often composed of mostly fiberglass and one or two layers of actual carbon fiber material. Often, insufficient compaction on these parts during the curing process leads to pinholes, resin pooling (milky buildup), and an unsightly finish which needs to be sanded down and sprayed with a clearcoat post production. The Result: These pieces are often as heavy as the stock component they are replacing, and often end up delaminating (The epoxy will separate from the carbon fiber) and/or turning yellow because of the post-production application of clearcoat.
Medium Quality Carbon Fiber products use what is called "Pre Preg" carbon fiber. Instead of coating dry fabric with epoxy, as the poor quality wet lay-up method above often uses, a more expensive type of carbon fiber that already has the epoxy embedded into the material is used. Gigantic rollers pressure-inject dry fabric with an epoxy that will not delaminate, and the result is carbon fiber which does not have to be slathered with epoxy in order to cure. Medium quality carbon fiber may use a moderate amount of fiberglass to reinforce the component, and the method of curing with medium quality CF is usually done in an oven similar to the poor quality carbon fiber. The Result: Lighter weight pieces than poor quality CF, however the curing processes used can still lead to pinholes and a rough surface. To make up for the poor surface finish out of the oven, medium quality carbon fiber is usually sanded down after it is cured and sprayed with an acrylic clearcoat to give it a deep look. The problem with this is that it leaves a nice thick layer of clearcoat for UV rays to turn yellow.
High Quality Carbon Fiber products use pre-preg carbon fiber material laid up into molds which can withstand high temperatures. The majority of the piece is composed of pure carbon fiber material. The pieces are then placed into an airtight bag, and a vacuum is used to suck out all of the air. After this, the pieces are placed into a special oven called an "autoclave," which gets hotter than a conventional oven, AND has hoses inside which hook up to the vacuum bag to continue to pull a vacuum on the piece. The Result: Because of the vacuum bagged autoclave process providing perfect compaction on the carbon fiber piece, the resin inside of the pre-preg evenly flows to the top of the component being manufactured. This results in a beautiful pinhole-free finish which does not have to be sanded down and sprayed with epoxy. Because of this, our carbon fiber components do not yellow or discolor, and are of the highest quality on the market.

http://www.benferperformance.com/main.pl
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 10:50 AM
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I dont know if you copied that tech info off that siteor not but it is full of half truths. First of all, There is no epoxy resin that is truely clear. Even the highest quality resin has a tint to it. All epoxy resin will eventually yellow from uv rays and a common cure is to use a uv resistant automotive clear coat. Epoxy resin will break down in direct sunlight over time no matter how expesive it is.

Pinholes are an evil that are created from many things and they do not mean that the carbon will delaminate. Yes some companies use some fiberglass to build thickness, but how many people will pay for a true carbon part. this would quadruple your costs on the part. It only ends up slightly heavier than the true carbon part and most buy carbon for cosmetic appeal. As a matter of fact I remeber some superbikes I worked on only having carbon patched in certain areas and the rest of the body being fiberglass.

An autoclave is a luxury that most cannot afford and you can get very similiar results from vaccume infusion and heated cure. Vaccume bagging is an easy task and produces good parts as well.

Pre-preg is extremely expensive and used for perfect resin to fabric ratio, insuring the part is as light as it can be with maximum strength. Unfortunately for cosmetic parts you may have to place another layer over the outside to bring full cosmetic appeal back. Pre-preg is primarily for aerospace (aircraft) parts and all carbon parts on aerospace applications are painted (to my knowledge)

Now while I may sound like an asshole doing this, I think this tech info was more of an advertisement and you werent teaching anyone anything. I am not trying to step on anyone's toes but any misinformation or incomplete information run through here with an underlying plug for ordering is not in the best interest of everyone here.

Maybe a tech article about the different forms of composites and the the ways they can be used and or built into parts would better educate and swing potential customers to a higher quality parts manufacturer.

cause rascus said I had to.........
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Last edited by hybrid; 01-13-2005 at 10:57 AM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 11:00 AM
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For all those who would infact like a decent tech article on different forms of composites, please pm me and if enough are interested I will write a lengthy one to the best of my knowledge. I cant say I know all of it but I do know enough to make my own bodykits and enough to educate the average person into a better understanding of how things work.

cause rascus said I had to.........
HELP ME FIX IT MOD.........PM me with any questions you have...actually PM RASCUS hahhaha


The friction which results from ignorance can be reduced only by the spread of knowledge- NIKOLA TESLA
Want to learn how to work on your bike? Check the "HOW TO" subsection of HELP ME FIX IT.

An engine used for braking will break!


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
 
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The above information was take from or should say quoted from http://www.benferperformance.com/ --- Its not a ploy to sell parts as really they only make parts for ducatis and not other bikes. Some car items. My understanding is that they do infact use a Pre-preg the highest or best method. And also most of the methods they use are by a guy that was in the carbon composete aerospace field.

I think this post is also to help generate correct answer on the subject.

some of their work:







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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-13-2005, 06:26 PM
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I hope you didnt take that as a bashing, I didnt intend for it to be. I was simply stating that you cannot believe sales pitches when it comes to tech stuff. All want you to believe that their method is better. While that may be true for certain aspects, like wieght ratios and what not, it doesnt always paint the full picture.

I merely wanted to point out that while their parts look good, their method of making them is trivial and the thread had very little technical promise to it. So like I said if anyone is interested in learning something about composites and enough will ask for it, I will right an unbiased article on it and its basic concepts.

I havent worked in the aerospace industry but I have worked with composites enough to build one off bodywork for some of the special bikes I build. It doesnt happen often but I do take requests for runs on certain parts.

cause rascus said I had to.........
HELP ME FIX IT MOD.........PM me with any questions you have...actually PM RASCUS hahhaha


The friction which results from ignorance can be reduced only by the spread of knowledge- NIKOLA TESLA
Want to learn how to work on your bike? Check the "HOW TO" subsection of HELP ME FIX IT.

An engine used for braking will break!


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