Dyneema® carbon: welcome to a shatterproof world

The Netherlands, 19 October 2016

Dyneema® Carbon hybrid composites represent a leap in the evolution of carbon. The world’s strongest fiber significantly improves on the performance of pure carbon composites in terms of impact resistance, vibrational dampening, and weight. Designed for amongst others high-performance bicycles and hockey sticks, the potential of Dyneema® Carbon is in fact endless. Welcome to a new shatterproof world.

The lightweight performance power of Dyneema® Carbon hybrid composites will be presented at the plastics and rubber K Trade Fair in Dusseldorf, 19-26 October 2016. Ongoing projects will be highlighted that demonstrate how Dyneema® Carbon improves the performance of sports and automotive motorsports products that currently rely on pure carbon composites. The potential is vast. Racing bikes, hockey sticks, tennis rackets and golfclubs with a better feel through reduced vibration. A rally car steering wheel that does not shatter on impact (on display at K-Show) is just for starters in the domain of automotive.

The popularity of pure carbon is easy to explain: “It’s strong, stiff, lightweight and easy to mould. But it’s not so good at handling impact,” notes DSM Dyneema scientist and part-time professor at Delft University of Technology Roel Marissen. Carbon also splinters when it breaks, which can cause injuries. By marrying carbon with Dyneema®, impact energy absorption can be increased by up to 100% while removing the risk of splintering. Dyneema® Carbon hybrid composites are also lighter, less brittle and more vibration dampening than pure carbon composites.

One project being presented at the K Trade Fair is a prototype of a high-performance bike (see images attached). The Dyneema® Carbon frame provides for a ride that is both more comfortable (reduced vibration) and safer (increased ductility), when compared to pure carbon composites. The spokes, made from a Dyneema® braid, provide more lightweight strength than steel spokes – so less energy is needed to accelerate and climb. Working with several brands on development projects, DSM Dyneema expects to have the first commercially available bikes in 2018.

Another cycling-related project is an aerodynamic seat for world champion hand cyclist Laura de Vaan – who recently went on to win two medals at the Rio Paralympics 2016. “I remember when I first used the bike for the time trials in Rio, it felt very solid on the road. I pointed it and it went in that direction. Wind was not of influence. And I knew it was impossible to break.”

Fifteen times stronger than steel but floats on water, Dyneema® fiber has long been used to moor oilrigs, sail ships, stop bullets and repair human ligaments. As a fabric component, it’s becoming increasingly popular with high-performance sports apparel and athletic sportswear – from mountain climbing to motorcycling.

Now as part of a hybrid composite, Dyneema® can bring its lightweight strength to products currently using pure carbon composites – covering everything from hockey sticks to racing bikes to basically anything which moves at speed. Dyneema® is also currently being applied to new non-carbon composites that can be tailored to other specific performance-enhancing needs. The possibilities are indeed endless.

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