Bike: Fe, Ti, Al, C

More and more carbon fiber bikes are being seen, although aluminum is still king, titanium is a rarity and poor steel has almost been pushed out of the way.

Steel is a fairly dense, hard, malleable metal, and alloyed with other metals such as chromium or molybdenum, it becomes harder, absorbs vibrations well, is durable, even resistant to rust and like all metals has a very solid bond, in doscero terminology we would call it collaborative; steel learns with the use we give it; in addition, for bikes it is very perfected.

Titanium is a little less metal than steel, let's say it is not as noble, it is more plastic, its bond is no longer completely metallic, it is expensive, it does not delocalize electrons as much, it does not conduct electricity as well as steel, ergo it is not as collaborative, although it is still metallic; on the other hand it is light, hard for its low density, and it absorbs vibrations well, something important on a bike.
Aluminum is almost no longer metal, it is lighter, but much softer, and it hardly absorbs vibrations, but it just so happened that twenty years ago production costs were greatly reduced, mainly because everyone wanted to have aluminum sliding windows at home. And of course some clever bike manufacturers took notice, and started to launch aluminum frames on the market; frames that, as they didn't absorb vibrations well, immediately lost a damping fork. Horror. Until then, the history of the bicycle had been marked by simplicity. There was even a movement to oppose sprocket gearing, three sprockets, at that time. They were cutting costs, China came into play, and aluminum for everyone.

Carbon is an element with covalent bonds, that of organic matter, carbon, more specifically the graphite of the mines of the pencils, yes, with that smearing it in glue - epoxy resin - putting it in a mold and waiting for it to dry; as each frame depends on a mold, it is a perfect example of economy of scale, that is, to make one to measure is very expensive, but to make number 1873 is very cheap. That's what today's expensive, light and not very durable paintings are made of; moldable and as unnoble as you can imagine.

Metals can be fixed by welding or riveting, they adapt to the forces we exert on them, they deform progressively, and in many cases their behavior improves with the passage of time. Aluminum is cheap, and carbon is becoming more and more so; if they want to bring real high performance to the market - structural and even functional - let it be with carbon nanotubes, which have nothing to do with the bastard fiber.


2 responses to "Bike: Fe, Ti, Al, C”

  1. Nice entry! This carbon that floods us... let's see how long it lasts without "fucking up" although... maybe by then we will have changed the piece... 🙂

  2. jallllll Avatar

    very interesting link...

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