Carbon Fibre Part 1

Black Box Recorder – Rideye

Heres a nice little start up venture?

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In airplanes, a black box is a precision electronic device which records what happened before a crash. This information is invaluable when determining exactly what went wrong. Since cyclists usually ride alone, knowing how an incident occurred is extremely important. Rideye is an objective, omnipresent witness that protects you against hit-and-runs and false claims. It’s the world’s first black box camera for your bike.

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Rideye was founded by Cedric Bosch, a mechanical engineer from Los Angeles, CA.

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Rideye was created after Cedric’s friend was seriously injured in a hit and run accident while cycling. Cedric spent the next year developing the Rideye as a way for cyclists to collect video evidence in the event of an accident.

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Rideye continuously records high-definition (1280 x 720) video onto its internal memory, which can hold up to 1.25 hours of video. The 120° optics cover an impressively wide field of view, recording every event and even allowing you to identify license plates in most incidents (left hand turn, right hook, and opening doors). When the internal memory is full, Rideye automatically removes the oldest video to make room for new recordings. You’ll never have to worry about downloading after each ride- it will simply be there when you need it.

In the event of an incident, a single press of the button stops recording and saves the file. If you can’t do it yourself, Rideye’s BlackBox sensor will do it for you when it detects a crash. At the center of the BlackBox system is a triple-axis accelerometer which measures Rideye’s movements at a rate of 1,600 times per second. When an impact is detected, the corresponding video file is saved to protect it from being overwritten.

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This project will only be funded if at least $32,000 is pledged by Tuesday Oct 15, 10:36pm EDT.

Current pledges sit at

Status 15 Sep
Status 15 Sep

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Further details can be found here – Rideye

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Carbon Fibre – Part 1

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We all ride one , or most anyway, but do we really know what it is? How can we distinguish between the various grades of carbon fibre and the impact on the quality of the bikes in the market? Why is it so bloody expensive? Why are some cheaper than others?

Well, its a long story, and as you all know i’m not a big fan of writing too much in this blog, I prefer to let the pictures speak for themselves, so I will try to keep this as simple as possible and break it up over a few posts.

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Q – What is Carbon Fibre?

Quite simply, it is an extremely strong and light fibre-reinforced polymer which contains carbon fibers. Carbon fibre is composed of carbon atoms bonded together to form a long chain.

Before we learn a bit about Carbon Fibre, you must have a quick look behind you.

Carbon fibre was first trotted out in solid-rocket motor cases and tanks back in the 60s, & it was poised to take on fibreglass and a host of other materials. So its been around for quite some time.

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50 years later it’s still an exotic material and its still bloody expensive to make. Well, this stuff is a pain in the arse to make.

Before carbon fibre becomes carbon fibre, it starts as a base material (precursor), usually an organic polymer with carbon atoms binding together long strings of molecules, an acrylic called a polyacrylonitrile (PAN). It’s material similar to the acrylics in jumpers but comes with a heftier price tag.

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To get the carbon part of carbon fibre, half of the starting material’s acrylic needs to be removed (offloaded). With this, the price doubles at the blink of an eye, without even flicking the switch to turn the various ovens on to get the Carbon Fibre. 

Unfortunately, to offload the non-carbon atoms from the acrylic requires a lot of heat and energy, which means large machines and lotsa money.

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The first of two major processing steps to take the PAN to the CF is oxidisation stabilisation. Here fibres are continuously fed through 15-30m long ovens pumping out heat in the several-hundred-degrees Celsius range taking hours to produce.

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The second stage is carbonisation. Although the furnaces here are shorter and don’t run for as long, they operate at much higher temperatures — we’re taking around 1000 degrees Celsius for the initial step before and then another round of heating with even higher temperatures. That’s a power bill you don’t even want to think about.

And it doesn’t end there. Manufacturers also have to deal with the acrylic that doesn’t hold on during the heating process. Off-gasses need to be treated so as not to poison the environment. It takes a lot of energy, needs a lot of real estate, and requires a lot of large equipment. And that’s just in the manufacturing of the individual fibres themselves.

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Bringing us back into consumer land, at this stage in the manufacturing process, we have now produced the strands. Still some way off the rock-hard, ultra-light, shiny frame with its visible weave.

So now all we have to do is arrange them into a lattice that takes advantage of the material’s unidirectional strength and lacquer them together.

Phew. Thats enough for this week. Catch up with part 2 next week.

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Vuelta

To be honest, I couldn’t quite get into this years Vuelta, but I did get an opportunity to watch a replay of the penultimate stage, and I must admit I found it spellbinding. The last climb up would have to be the most daunting climb world cycling, the 1550m Alto de l’Angliru. It is a monster, it is cruel, and it is the last climb of a long and arduous Vuelta.

The climb is a distance of 12.2km, average gradient of 10.2 percent with two pinches where the gradient rises above 21 percent, the last just under 2km from the finish line.

Ouch!

190-IMG_3500_edited-1 200-IMG_3496_edited-1 215-IMG_3503_edited-1 Horner of the U.S. is followed by Italy's Nibali as they climb L'Angliru port during the 142-km 20th stage of the Vuelta

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Spain's Rodriguez is cheered by supporters as he climbs L'Angliru port during the 142-km 20th stage of the Vuelta 270-IMG_3545_edited-1 272-IMG_3609_edited-1 PIC396638658

Chris Horner
Chris Horner
Frenchman Kenny Elissonde
Frenchman Kenny Elissonde

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Hats off to the oldest winner of the Vuelta – Chris Horner

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Hard to believe that Chris once had hair, and suffered through many hair styles.

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Bling

Well done Bling on the Final Stage win at the Vuelta.

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Tumblr of the Week – FYeah AirPlanes

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Photo of the Week – GP2 Crash of Stefano Coletti, Spa.

Photo from http://automotivated.tumblr.com/

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till next week

tight spokes

iPib

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