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Old 02-19-2010, 11:27 PM   #1
crzy88
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Carbon Fiber Helmets

Any reason why some major companies haven't adopted the material into their helmet line (i.e. Arai, Shoei, AGV, Bell, Vemar)? At least brands that I'm aware of. I know Icon just released their carbon line and seems to be the most certified helmet since it meets all standards (too good to be true?) and Joe Rocket has had carbon for awhile. Is it the cost of carbon and the forming process, too difficult to work with it? Any opinions on this?

Thanks
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:08 AM   #2
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Carbon fiber does not stand up to the abuse that fiber glass does.
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:25 AM   #3
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they sure don't market that issue. Makes me wonder how the icon carbon is able to go through all world standards (ece, snell, etc)
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:01 AM   #4
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If you go on Arai's website they explain why.
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:09 AM   #5
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Is this what you're talking about princess? http://www.araiamericas.com/default.aspx?pageid=124
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:50 AM   #6
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The problem with carbon fiber is it is too stiff.
Part of the job of a helmets outer shell is to begin to absorb impact energy. The way it should do that is to flex without breaking. That reduces the energy transferred to the foam middle lining.
The foam lining crushes to further absorb energy (thats why helmets should be replaced after a crash... the foam only crushes once) and then what remains is, hopefully absorbed by the cushy foam inner lining (the part you see when you look inside the helmet).
Carbon fiber is so stiff that it transfers virtually all of the impact energy to the foam middle lining. That removes one layer of absorbtion... not good.

Not that anyone asked but Kevlar has problems bonding with the resin, so delamination and shell failure is possible.
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Old 02-20-2010, 11:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Is this what you're talking about princess? http://www.araiamericas.com/default.aspx?pageid=124
That's it. When it comes to helmets, I trust Arai.
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Old 02-20-2010, 03:03 PM   #8
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If that's the case with carbon fiber, how is it that it passes the safety standards? I guess it passes but just isn't as above and beyond as traditional fiber glass.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee View Post
The problem with carbon fiber is it is too stiff.
Part of the job of a helmets outer shell is to begin to absorb impact energy. The way it should do that is to flex without breaking. That reduces the energy transferred to the foam middle lining.
The foam lining crushes to further absorb energy (thats why helmets should be replaced after a crash... the foam only crushes once) and then what remains is, hopefully absorbed by the cushy foam inner lining (the part you see when you look inside the helmet).
Carbon fiber is so stiff that it transfers virtually all of the impact energy to the foam middle lining. That removes one layer of absorbtion... not good.

Not that anyone asked but Kevlar has problems bonding with the resin, so delamination and shell failure is possible.
this is funny, because i can stand on my shoei rf1k and it doesnt move (fiberglass), yet the joe rocket carbon i have, i can flex with my hands... im thinking the fiberglass is more stiff?
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:33 PM   #10
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Both are solidified w resin.



The foam is what protects from impact, the outer shell merely holds the foam together from distorting form on hard impact.

yes, resin has a tendency to crack. Quality in production would account for the differences between manufactorers.

As for the safety tests, the actual passing restrictions are minimal, all things considered.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Trav View Post
this is funny, because i can stand on my shoei rf1k and it doesnt move (fiberglass), yet the joe rocket carbon i have, i can flex with my hands... im thinking the fiberglass is more stiff?
Fiberglass is a different ball of wax than carbon fiber. As mentioned carbon fiber composites are stiffer, but this is per unit volume. Various factors can make a fiberglass helmet flex less than a carbon fiber. A really easy way to see this is: aluminum foil flexes easier than a piece of wood, but is much stiffer than the wood is per area (if you have dirty thought from my analogy you have issues).
Kevlar readily absorbs water which can negate any weight savings from its increased strength and toughness.
Carbon is also not as tough. By tough I mean the area under a stress strain curve. Load a material and it will stretch. As it moves the load must be increased to stretch it more. Carbon needs a very high load to make it move, but doesn't stretch very far before it breaks (as compared to fiberglass). I haven't looked too hard into the pros and cons of carbon for crash protection, but any helmet is way better than none.
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:43 PM   #12
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i understand all that, my comment was towards the way the helmets that i have compare to each other. the carbon one seems "soft" if you will. the fiberglass seems rock hard.

this being said, if i go down; i want to be wearing my fiberglass shoei.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spartandude View Post
Fiberglass is a different ball of wax than carbon fiber. As mentioned carbon fiber composites are stiffer, but this is per unit volume. Various factors can make a fiberglass helmet flex less than a carbon fiber. A really easy way to see this is: aluminum foil flexes easier than a piece of wood, but is much stiffer than the wood is per area (if you have dirty thought from my analogy you have issues).
Kevlar readily absorbs water which can negate any weight savings from its increased strength and toughness.
Carbon is also not as tough. By tough I mean the area under a stress strain curve. Load a material and it will stretch. As it moves the load must be increased to stretch it more. Carbon needs a very high load to make it move, but doesn't stretch very far before it breaks (as compared to fiberglass). I haven't looked too hard into the pros and cons of carbon for crash protection, but any helmet is way better than none.

this takes me back to my materials class. You make quite a few good points. I'm sure that whatever the case is a good quality helmet will protect you. thanks for the insight guys.
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:02 PM   #14
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Vemar makes a carbon fiber helmet.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:02 AM   #15
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carbon fiber has enormous TENSILE strength, but is not the best material for an item that can encounter shearing,twisting, or abrasiveness. all at the same time.

not saying that it is not recommended. it's up there, just simply is not THE best material on the market.
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